Next week is National Tree Week (Saturday 28th November-Sunday 6th December), it is organised by The Tree Council who’s aim is to inspire thousands of people across Britain to join forces and plant upwards of a million trees, it is the UK’s largest tree festival and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Tree planting activities and workshops are taking place around the country by Schools, Community Groups and The Tree Council’s member organisations, details can be found on The Tree Council’s interactive ‘Near You’ map.
With Christmas just over 4 weeks away, we begin thinking about buying the perfect Christmas Tree, Christmas is not complete without a tree, they are the focal point in the home, lots of fun to decorate, and with presents underneath magical and very exciting, the scent from a real tree is amazing.
Why not have a go at growing your own Christmas Tree?
If you have space in your garden, school garden or allotment why not plant some young Christmas trees which will take pride of place in your home/school in years to come, small pot grown trees can be bought from nurseries and garden centres the most common types are:
Norway Spruce (Picea abies): The Traditional Christmas tree with a good scent, but quick to drop its needles.
Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana): Denser branches and dark green needles that are very slow to drop.
Blue Spruce (Picea pungens Glauca group): Blue needles, more prickly than other trees, holds its needles better than the Norway spruce.
Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri): Good needle-holding properties, a lovely pine fragrance and the regular shape of a Norway spruce.
Plant your tree to the same depth as it is in the pot, water in well and remove any surrounding weeds which can inhibit growth, keep weed free for the first years whilst it is small.
Christmas trees need very little training when grown outdoors, aim to maintain an attractive cone shape, removing any shoots that spoil the silhouette or any strong upright branches that compete with the main stem or ‘leader’. Every year the tree will produce a set of lateral branches and a leader, during the first years the tree will not produce much growth, but once established in subsequent years you can expect approx. 14-16”. Prune away any dead, diseased or dying branches, the tree will naturally shed some needles. Christmas trees prefer a slightly acid soil, the Nordmann Fir will cope the best if you garden on chalk.
If you have not got the room to plant young Christmas Trees they can be grown on in pots, simply repot every year into a larger pot, bring indoors for Christmas as late as possible, place in a cool position and keep well-watered, eventually there will come a time when the tree plus pot will become too heavy to bring indoors so trim up with outdoor decorations and enjoy it through the window.
Christmas trees grow slowly; growing your own is a long term project, plant one or two each Autumn/Winter so that you will have one ready to cut every Christmas in years to come.
I am getting excited about Christmas already but I will have to wait another few weeks before I buy my tree.