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Tips for looking after your Christmas Tree

All our trees are freshly cut.

We recommend giving your tree plenty of water when you first put it up.

It will drink water for the first week or two, so keep checking if it needs topping up. 

It is best to place your Christmas tree in a cooler part of a room and away from any heat source, to help keep them fresh for as long as possible. They really dislike underfloor heating, which will cause your tree to dry out very quickly and drop its needles. When trees become very dry, they are a fire risk, when trees are in this state they need to be removed from indoors.

container-grown christmas trees

Our potted trees are all grown in their pots, which means you can try growing them out in the garden after you have finished with them in the house. Bear in mind, however, that buying a potted Christmas tree from us (or any other retailer) is not the same as buying a garden tree from a nursery or garden centre. Trees in pots are grown for display this Christmas only. The fact that they have roots attached leads people to think that they can easily be grown on again in the garden, in the new year. While this is possible, there is only a 50/50 chance of pot-grown Christmas trees establishing successfully. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you want to give it a go, please read the tips below, but please bear in mind that we are not a tree nursery and we offer you no guarantee of long-term survival.

Here are some tips to looking after your pot-grown Christmas tree, from the moment you take it home to planting it in the garden. If you don’t feel like growing it at home, or you don’t have the space, then you could either donate it to a friend or bring it back to us and we will recycle it.
• Your pot-grown Christmas tree is still alive. To keep it alive, it will need watering at home.
• When you water the soil in your Christmas tree’s pot, some of it may spill out of the pot. Make sure that you have some way to catch that water (eg a cover pot, or drip tray) and maybe something on the floor to protect your carpet or floorboards.
• Before you water the soil in the pot, stick your finger in. If the soil is already moist, then your tree does not need watering. Letting your tree sit in stagnant water will drown the roots and the tree could start to get ill. Also, stale water sitting around might start to get a bit smelly. So water little and often.
• Your tree will need watering more often if it in a warm place. In many ways, looking after your Christmas tree indoors is like caring for any other houseplant.
• Your pot-grown Christmas tree might think that spring has arrived early if it is warm in your house. It might start to develop its buds and grow! Don’t be alarmed, just enjoy the show.
• When the time comes to move your tree outdoors, and you want to keep it alive, choose your time carefully. The shock of moving your tree from a warm house to subzero temperatures outdoors is enough to kill or severely harm it. Wait for a mild and wet winters day (we seem to have plenty of those in January), then move your tree outside then. Alternatively, you can acclimatise your tree by putting it in a cool, frost-free conservatory or greenhouse for a few weeks – but remember that you will still need to water it!
• Your pot-grown tree will either need to planted in the ground, or in a larger pot. To do this, you will need to remove the pot it is in. This can sometimes be a bit difficult, because the roots can be very packed in.
• Once you have removed the pot, plunge the tree’s root ball into a bucket of water and soak for 30–60 mins.
• If you are going to grow the tree in another pot, choose one that is at least twice the size of the original pot. Tease out the congested roots with garden fork or trowel, and plant at the same depth using a soil-based compost mixture known as John Innes No.3. Practically all garden centres sell this stuff, and it is specially formulated for trees and shrubs in pots, and contains a bit of fertiliser to keep the tree fed for a few months. Water the tree in well on planting.
• Trees in pots are totally reliant on you for water and food. So you will need to care for your tree if you want it to stay alive. Feed it with a general-purpose, slow-release fertiliser in spring and early summer, and make sure the compost never dries out. If the needles are going a bit yellow, then it is either short of food or you are watering it too much (causing nutrients to wash out of the soil).
• Christmas trees struggle in pots. They much prefer to be in the ground, where their roots can really spread out. As a result, growth in pots is much reduced, with only a couple of inches growth per year.
• Christmas trees grow best if planted in the open ground. If you choose this option, then choose a position that will give it plenty of space to grow, a reasonable distance from any buildings (these trees grow to about 30ft+) in a sunny or lightly shaded site. Tease out the congested roots and dig a hole slightly bigger than the root ball, making sure it is planted no deeper than it was in the pot. As you backfill the hole, slosh in loads and loads of water to help it get established. This water will drain away, but if it doesn’t then your site is waterlogged ad your tree won’t like that! Keep watering your tree well in its first spring and summer. After that it will be happy.
• You can clip your tree every now and again to keep its Christmas-tree shape. Sometimes branches grow off in funny directions, which spoil the look.
• I have been growing Christmas trees for almost 25 years now, and I am still learning new things. It’s normal to make mistakes, and we learn best from trial and error. So don’t worry if it all goes wrong, don’t worry about it. Part of the fun is in the trying!
• One last note – if you have managed to read this far – is that if you are seriously looking for a Christmas tree for your garden, as a long-term specimen tree, then you are much better-off buying your tree from a specialist tree nursery. These nurseries bring trees on for garden display, not temporary winter display, so they will be much better prepared. You will also have some sort of guarantee. Trees are more likely to succeed if they are planted young, but today many nurseries offer (for a price) larger, established trees that come in very large pots.

Please recycle your tree in January