Three years ago I bought a Christmas tree from a well known outlet and it was a disaster. In no time at all the needles were dropping and every day got worse.
Two years ago a bought a tree from Lidl. At £24.99 and two metres it was a bargain. Even more so as it lasted the whole Christmas period and when twelfth night arrived the looked almost as good as when tie arrived. Last year I was equally impressed and no surprise where I'll be purchasing my tree this year.
Lidl source their Nordmann Fir trees from Berkshire forests and Scottish Highlands.
And if you want to know when to have your tree on show – traditionally it's the first Sunday in Advent which this year falls on 28 November.
Chris Bonnet from GardeningExpress offers these tips on what you should look out for when buying a tree and a couple of checks you can do to ensure the tree is in good condition:
Check the colour The first and most obvious thing to check when buying your tree is the colour of it. Take a good look at the whole tree to check for any grey or brown colouring.
The drop test Checking the needles of a tree is the best indication as to what sort of condition it’s in and one way to test this is with the drop test. Hold the tree a few inches above the ground and drop it, if quite a few needles fall off then the tree is not fresh
Run your hands through the branches Another way to check the needles of a tree is to run your hands through the branches and see how many fall off. It's common for some of the internal needles to fall off, but the exterior ones should remain intact.
Know your trees There’s a variety of Christmas trees out there to choose from and you can’t know what to look for if you don’t know what kind of tree you want. The most common tree that people buy nowadays is the Nordmann Fir. But perhaps you want something more traditional like a Norway Spruce. Not all trees are the same – the needles on a Norway Spruce tend to drop more so in this case the drop test might not be the best indication to how fresh the tree is.
Pick a tree partly in shade Picking a tree that is already partly in shade means that it won't struggle to adapt when you move it indoors since it’s already been kept away from some sun.