It is essential that cut trees are fresh when purchased. The needles should not be dull and dried up and the branches should not be brittle.
After you have bought your tree it should be kept outside in a cool place, preferably standing in water, until it is required indoors. Before bringing the tree indoors, cut about half an inch off the butt. This will open up the pores of the tree and help the tree take up water. The tree should be placed in a water-holding stand and away from direct heat.
These have been grown in their pots and have a complete root system. The trees themselves should look fresh. They will be small and seldom more than three to four foot. The trees should be watered and cared for as you would for any house plant. After Christmas, they can either be planted out in the garden, with a very good chance of success or they can be left to grow on in their pot. If this is the case it is much better to re-pot the tree into a larger container. It is very important not to let the tree dry out during the summer.
Which are better for the environment: real or plastic Christmas Trees? Real trees are grown as a cyclical crop much like any other, so there is no deforestation issue. The fact that the constantly rotating crop is there in the first place means not only is it sustainable, but it also produces additional oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide. Add the fact that real trees are both recyclable and biodegradable, and not to mention the wildlife that exist in and around the plantations, the answer is a no-brainer. Even if the tree is burnt after use, the natural tree will release no more CO2 than it originally took up. Here at Oxenford we chip all our leftover, and poor-quality trees, unless they are used for other crafts e.g. making Horse Jumps!
A recent Guardian article encouraged the natural tree over the plastic for the below reasons (as well as smelling better!):
"It is the manufacture of the plastic tree, from oil, which creates most of its carbon footprint; around two thirds, according to Dr John Kazer of the Carbon Trust. Another quarter is created by the industrial emissions produced when the tree is made. They are also often shipped long distances before arriving in the shop and then your home. A 6.5ft artificial tree has a carbon footprint equivalent to about 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions – which is more than twice that of a real tree that ends its life in landfill and more than 10 times that of a real tree which is burnt. Most local authorities now offer a collection service for real trees which they shred and use on gardens and parks – the greenest way to dispose of your real tree. A real tree that is recycled – by chipping – or is kept growing in a pot or the garden, can have negligible or even negative emissions, according to Kazer. But a 6.5ft tall real tree could result in a carbon footprint of 16kg CO2 if it ends up in landfill because the tree decomposes and produces methane gas – which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. When buying a real tree, Friends of the Earth advise to look for one that is locally produced, or at least grown in the UK with an FSC certification to avoid emissions from transporting and importing."