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How To Choose The Perfect Christmas Tree

Christmas is approaching and the time has come to choose your natural Christmas tree: a fun program to do as a family and bring everyone closer to Nature that will certainly remain in the memory of the little ones!

In Portugal, the tradition of having a pine tree dates back to the century. XIX, when, in 1844, D. Fernando II installed, in the Paço Real das Necessidades, in Lisbon, a decorated Christmas tree to remember his childhood in Germany. However, while in the past trees were cut down in the forest, nowadays this practice is no longer allowed given the environmental unsustainability it represents. For this purpose, there are production farms of different species that guarantee beautiful specimens and a sustainable environmental practice: for each tree felled, another is planted in its place.

If the artificial ones have many lovers, more and more people prefer the use of live trees, with roots, which, if treated properly, can be replanted in Nature after the festive period! For this to be possible, do not forget that these are outdoor plants (and cold climates!) so, if you keep them at home, you must guarantee sunlight, regular watering and distance from heat sources! When planting the tree in the garden, choose a sunny but not too hot place and ensure regular fertilization.

In our country, and depending on any natural disturbances (drought, pests or fires) that may cause shortages, pine, spruce and spruce trees are usually on sale because they are the easiest to cultivate and the fastest to grow. Firs ( Abies nordmanniana ) are the most popular of natural Christmas trees , as they tend to shed fewer needles when they dry, retaining their scent and color. Picea abies are also very common, easily distinguished by their thinner and shorter needles. Enchanting and reminiscent of the imagination of children’s tales, Picea pungens appear, with fine blue-gray needles. To escape the traditional, there are those who prefer to buy junipers ( Juniperus comunis ) or false cypresses (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ), which give pungent aromas and a different form of decoration!

How To Choose The Perfect Christmas Tree

Tips to make your choice easier and ensure you have a beautiful and healthy specimen

1. Before going to the garden centre, plan where you want to place your tree and make sure it is away from heat sources – fireplace, air conditioning, heaters, etc. Remember that the best place to place it will be with indirect sunlight and in a dry environment, but with the root (or trunk) slightly damp. 

2. Measure the right foot of the room where you want to place your tree and make sure that the specimen you choose is at least 30 cm lower than the ceiling. You will be aesthetically more elegant and you will be able to put the star on top! Don’t forget to also measure the area you have available for the tree because, outdoors, when choosing the perfect tree, the dimensions may seem smaller than they actually are. In nurseries, trees are usually identified by species and height, but taking a tape measure is always a good idea!

3. At home, find a place away from passing areas so that it won’t tip over or be bumped into, but close enough to an electrical plug so you can turn on the lights.

4. Take into account the trees that you can find on the market: pines (tame or wild), spruce or spruce. While pines and spruces have less rigid needles, spruces have sharper needles. The colors of each of the species also vary so, if you have the ornaments already chosen, you can always take one or two with you when choosing the tree to ensure that you select the perfect one!

5. When you’ve chosen your favorite species, step back a meter or two and see the tree from multiple vantage points! The ideal is to look for a dense specimen whose trunk cannot be seen through the “foliage”.

6. Check if the copy you are buying is “fresh”. If you pull a branch and many needles fall, choose another specimen. Make sure the needles are green and shiny and not dull or dry.

7. Make sure you don’t take home a diseased or infested tree! When you are choosing your tree, feel how good it smells (and not musty) and confirm that your needles and trunks do not have spots or stains;

8. If you buy a tree with a cut trunk (without roots), make sure that, when you get home, you saw off about 2 cm from the base so that it can absorb more water and stay beautiful for longer. Also make sure that the foot of the trunk is straight so that you can keep the tree straight at home!

The tips for buying a natural Christmas tree are given, but if you are in doubt between a natural or artificial tree, remember: producing a plastic and metal tree is highly polluting and, when you get tired of it, it won’t be able to recycle it. In turn, after Christmas, if you are unable to replant your natural tree, city councils usually collect green waste, so yours could give rise to wood chips (used in building materials) or for biomass!

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