How long does a real Christmas tree last?
Traditionally many different species of evergreen trees were used for a Christmas tree. A Fir (Abies) was probably used as the first Christmas Tree in 16th Century North Germany. Today there are about 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold every year. There is a range of different types, shapes and sizes and the best tree for you will depend in no small part on how early you wish to put your tree up in the home and therefore how long it needs to last indoors.
Choosing a healthy, freshly cut tree
- The scores and timeframes above all rely on the tree being freshly cut and healthy to begin with. If you're interested in how long your Christmas tree will last, being able to identify a healthy tree in the first place is key.
- Needles should be bright and shiny, not dry and dull. Needles on the outer part of the tree should not fall off when the tree is gently shaken (some loss of internal needles is normal). Branches should be flexible not brittle.
- Some ways to check whether a tree is fresh are:
(1) Drop the tree from 1 foot (30cm) above ground and check to see how many needles fall
(2) Gently bent some branches upwards. They should be flexible and not snap easily.
(3) Check the weight of the tree - heavier trees are fresher and more healthy.
(4) Bend a needle between your thumb and forefinger. It should form a "U" shape.
- At Jackson's Nurseries we grown many of our own trees on site which are cut regularly throughout December, so you can rest assured that you're getting a freshly cut tree whenever you choose to buy.
Giving your Christmas tree the right care
- Giving your tree the right basic care and attention will have a big impact on how long it lasts and how fresh or bedraggled it looks when it should be taking centre stage on Christmas day.
How to make your Christmas tree last a lifetime...
- It's not guaranteed but if you want to keep the memory of your Christmas alive for a lifetime try buying a root balled tree that you can plant outdoors after Christmas.
- Many families choose to do this for their child's first Christmas so they have a lasting memory and can treasure the first tree which will grow with them even when they've flown the nest.
- The roots will come wrapped with a ball of soil in plastic, which makes them heavier for any given size of tree.
- Water the root ball thoroughly as soon as you get home, then let the water drain off before wrapping it back into plastic to preserve moisture. This will also help protect your floors and carpets to a certain extent but we also recommend laying down extra sheets of waterproof material such as tarpaulin when you bring your tree indoors.
Giving a rootballed tree the best chance of survival
Our experience shows that the success rate is around 60%. To give your tree the best chance:
1) Choose a healthy tree to begin with by following the steps above
2) Keep the tree indoors for the shortest time possible - we recommend 10 days maximum
3) Water regularly and keep the tarpaulin wrapped around the roots to help retain moisture
4) Avoid excessively high central heating temperatures in the room where your tree will reside.
5) Don't move rootballed trees abruptly between different temperature extremes in/outdoors.
6) Give your tree a good mulch when planting out in the garden to help reinvigorate growth.
So when should I buy my Christmas tree?
- We would advise against buying any variety of Christmas tree any earlier than the start of December. Don't forget that your tree has very recently been a living thing much like cut flowers.
- 'No needle drop' Nordman Fir trees will stay looking strong right through Christmas with the right care and attention if installed during the first week of December.
- If you're looking to choose a Spruce, particularly the Norway Spruce, we recommend waiting until mid-late December before buying and installing your tree to minimise the number of needles that will fall before Christmas whilst the tree is in your home.
- Installing a Norway Spruce on the 1st December means it may start to look a little bit ropey by Christmas day if the room is a little too hot or if you forgot to top up the water for a couple of days.
- One option that gives you the best of both worlds is ordering your Christmas tree online or by phone well in advance and having our garden centre staff reserve a tree that fits your requirements. You can then arrange for it to be delivered on a day of your choosing or collected from our Staffordshire garden centre at your convenience.
- Our trees are grown on site and cut or dug fresh throughout the festive season. If you input notes with your order setting out specific requirements (e.g. bushy, broad based) we'd be delighted to pick the perfect tree for you.
- Most people opt for the second weekend in December to install their tree in the home, which will fall between the 8th and 14th December depending on the year. It's pretty good timing in our books and recommended by the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) too.
Contact Us for Advice
- At Jackson's Nurseries we understand that choosing the right tree and treading the fine balance between giving in to peer pressure from the kids to put the tree up early whilst also making sure it's still looking good on Christmas day can be a challenge!
- If we can help in any way feel free to contact us with your questions. All types of Christmas trees mentioned in this article can be purchased from our Christmas trees page.