Its that time of year when you are sent to go and get a Christmas tree to bring home to the family. However, the choice is not simple as there are many varieties of fir, spruce, cyprus, pines and cedar trees that are grown as Christmas trees.
You may choose a traditional tree, or wish to select a variety with better needle retention or in a different colour. There are some top selling varieties of trees in the UK to look out for:
Norway Spruce, Picea abies
This is the traditional British Christmas tree. It is the Christmas tree displayed in Trafalgar square that is sent to Britain every year by Oslo as a thank you for Britains support of Norway during the first world war.
Trees are triangular shaped, with dark green needles and dropping branchlets. Needles are rectangular in section and at the base of each needle is a twig-like projection (sterigmata) which remains after the needle is lost. Picea abies has a tendency to drop its needles, particularly towards the end of the Christmas period. Purchase your tree in the week just before Christmas to ensure your needles look good over the festive period.
Blue spruce, Picea pungens
The blue spruce offers an attractive blue colour and holds it needles well.This tree has stiff, waxy grey-green needles, a symmetrical form and a dense habit. Needles are four sided with a very sharp point on the end, but are retained well on your cut tree.
This is the best selling non drop tree variety. Nordmann firs have long, full, lush, dark green foliage, which is soft to the touch and have excellent needle retention. It has attractive foliage, and its needles are flattened, glossy and dark green in colour. The tip of the leaf is usually blunt so the needles that are not sharp and do not drop readily when the tree dries out.
Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii
The needles are soft, dark green-blue green in colour and radiate in all directions from the branch. This variety holds it needles well and when crushed, these needles have a sweet fragrance.
Noble fir, Abies procera
The noble fir has a shape similar to a Douglas fir but is a deeper, richer green. It has stiff branches which make it a good tree for heavy ornaments, as well as providing excellent greenery for wreaths and garland. The Noble fir keeps as a cut Christmas tree for a long time.
Scots Pine, Pinus sylvestris
A really fragrant native conifer with an attractive blue-green foliage and soft needles.
Lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta
A bushy tree, similar to the Scots Pine, with long green needles and a wonderful natural pine scent. Probably the best tree for needle retention and is perfect for those who like to decorate their tree a little earlier .
For related articles click onto:
Christmas mince pies
Gingerbread Christmas Decorations
Growing Christmas trees
How to grow mistletoe from seed
How to make Christmas cake
How to keep your cut Christmas tree
How to keep your Christmas tree
Christmas trees How to roast turkey
Recipe for Christmas pudding
Spiced brussels sprouts
What is a tree?
What is Boxing day?
What is Christmas?
What is mistletoe?
Why do we kiss under the mistletoe?
What is frankincense?
What is Myrhh?