As we enter the holiday season, millions of real and artificial Christmas trees will be displayed and decorated in homes around the UK. The Christmas tree tradition originated in Germany in the 16th century, but trees weren’t introduced into UK and US homes until the 1830s when they became a staple of Christmas tradition. The largest tree recorded was erected in Woodinville, Washington and measured 122ft in height. With 77 million Christmas trees planted each year across 1,000,000 acres of land, we investigate the growing conditions needed to produce a healthy, picture-perfect Christmas tree and how you can keep your tree healthy in your home.
In the UK, most real Christmas trees belong to the Norway spruce species; the tree was a natural species in the British Isles until the last Ice Age, the species was reintroduced into the UK in the 1500s. Norway spruces are part of the Pinaceae family and the evergreen trees can grow up to 40m in height. They grow tall and straight with a triangular shape; their bark is typically a grey-brown colour when the trees are young, this changes to a dark purple-brown when the trees mature at approximately 80 years old. The trees produce needle-like leaves which are square-shaped and pointed; their leaves have a rich, sweet smell. The trees were first adopted as Christmas trees in the UK in 1841 as Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert introduced his German traditions into the royal Christmas celebrations.
Norway Spruces grow throughout the UK; they were particularly planted in woodlands and forestry in the lowlands during the early 19th century. In addition to areas of the UK, the Norway spruce can also be found throughout Europe including in the Pyrenees and the Alps, however, the tree originates from Scandinavia. The trees grow relatively fast, in the right conditions they are expected to grow 2 feet a year but the trees can live for over 1000 years. When the Norway spruces have been planted, they can survive in areas with competing shrubs and weeds, outcompeting them for water and minerals needed for healthy growth. As the tree is a conifer, it is capable of surviving in drought areas with low water due to poor irrigation. Surviving and growing in acidic, moist, loamy, sandy and clay soils, while still thriving in areas of shade and low sunlight, the Norway spruce is capable of growing in harsh environmental and weather conditions.
When you have purchased your Christmas tree to decorate your home, it is important to continue to treat the tree to keep it healthy throughout the festive season. When the tree is cut down, pitch seals the pores of the tree which blocks the tree from absorbing water, sawing the base of the tree will expose pores to water which will be absorbed through the trunk. Watering the tree will help keep the leaves from shedding, a freshly cut tree can still consume over a gallon of water in 24 hours so make sure the tree stand is always filled with water. It is important to get the tree in water as soon as you take the tree home, most trees can only survive 6-8 hours without water. Cut trees survive best in colder temperatures, so it is important to keep trees away from heat sources like radiators when indoors. With these tips, your healthy tree can now be decorated with tinsel, light and baubles to help bring Christmas cheer to your home.
Aquarius Manufacturing Ltd is part of the Euro Extrusions Group and manufactures the Soaker Hose, the latest innovation in irrigation used throughout the UK and worldwide. This market leading irrigation system uses a flexible rubber pipe which can be placed either in or on top of the soil to release water through its porous membrane gradually. The Soaker Hose supports plant growth through replacing lost water in soil through a capillary action.
Available to purchase through the Soaker Hose online store, the Soaker Hose is manufactured in a range of diameters and length to suit your gardening needs. The standard pipe comes in varying lengths from 7.5m to 100m and has a watering rate of 2.4 litres per hour per metre. The Soaker Hose is produced at the same diameter as most standard garden hose fittings, meaning an easy set-up process. The Pro Bore Soaker Hose is also available, this wider pipe is suitable for industrial growers and long-distance irrigation systems. All Soaker Hose products are manufactured from Aquarius’ Lancashire factory, a Great British product for a Great British gardener.