It’s not just Santa that travels a fair way to reach you! Your Christmas tree has also had a long journey in order to be ready to give your home that truly wintery feel. In this article, we compared artificial and real trees for the festive period, and show you just how much work goes into getting a real tree ready for the big day!
The path of the Christmas tree
If you bought your tree in the UK, it probably grew on UK soil! There are many wholesale Christmas tree farmers in the UK and most of their produce goes to garden centres and supermarkets in the country. UK Christmas tree sales accumulate to £280m on average and three quarters of these are home grown. 80% of the market opts for the Nordmann fir tree; with soft foliage and glossy green needles, it’s a perfect tree for decorating. But before you hang tinsel and baubles off its branches, where did it all begin?
First of all, cones from mature trees are harvested for seeds to sow in beds rich with mulch and manure. A protective sheet is placed over the top to prevent any damage from frost or sunlight. For the first two years of their life, weed control is essential to eliminate any competition for moisture, nutrients or sunlight. After three years, the seedlings are moved to plant beds for two more years until their root system is strong enough to be transplanted into a field. Christmas tree farmers can have hundreds of trees in one field, and must look after them all.
To ensure the trees grow in a manner fitting customer demand, the next seven or eight years are spent carefully attending to the trees. This is done by trimming the sides of the tree regularly to maintain the classic Christmas tree look; it can be cut in different ways to grow into a ‘full’ or ‘open’ tree. Bud-rubbing is another practise that farmers must do which is where the buds are removed from the top row of branches to enable the side branches to further develop – this results in a thicker tree.
Different heights and price brackets are noted by the use of coloured ribbons tied to the trees. In total, it takes around 12-15 years from seed to harvest!
The differences between real or artificial trees
Still, many people choose to go for artificial trees, despite all the work put into rowing real ones! Looking at average monthly searches in Google over the past year, it appears that more people search for artificial Christmas trees (14,800) than real Christmas trees (9,900). However, this could be due to the purchase process of each (some fake trees can be bought online).
There’s all kinds of different sizes and shape of tree, from a Blue spruce to a Nordman fir. One advantage of grown trees is that, unlike artificial trees, you can choose a tree suitable for your own home and know that no one else will have one the same.
A real tree will generally cost you more than an artificial one. Moreover, an artificial tree will last you around 10 years whereas a real tree will only last a few weeks.
It’s incorrectly perceived by some that buying real trees is harmful to the environment. However, these trees are a crop and it is not dangerous to cut them down. Unlike artificial trees, real trees are biodegradable too – reducing their carbon footprint further.
Then again, you could always profit from this crop and grow your own!