Pines and Needles supplies trees to stars including Sir Elton, Madonna, Noel Gallagher - and even royalty, with Prince Harry nipping to buy a tree from them this week. But even A-list celebs need help when it comes to caring for their fantastic fir. As do the rest of us. Brothers Sam and Josh Lyle, who set up Pines and Needles when they were 15 years old and now sell 60,000 Christmas trees a year, share their top care tips.
1. Prepare the trunk
Just before you install your tree, saw off the bottom 1" (3cm) of the trunk. This creates a fresh cut and opens up the pores in the bark, which otherwise can block up with sap within a few hours of being cut. The tree is then able to drink water through these pores via capillary action.
Your tree may drink 2-3 pints of water daily
2. Trees need routine
Don't expose your tree to sudden changes in temperature. Trees are creatures of habit and prefer steady conditions.
3. Keep it away from any heat sources
Position your Christmas tree away from any heat sources such as radiators and fireplaces. Heat dries out your tree faster, so the further from potentially damaging heat sources the better, and the fresher your tree will remain.
4. Water your tree
Place your tree in plain water - not soil or sand which would block the pores in the bark. This is best achieved by using a specially-designed Christmas tree stand. Many precious hours can be wasted trying to make a Christmas Tree stand up straight in an ordinary bucket using just bricks or stones!
5.Then keep on watering it
Keep the Christmas tree stand topped up with water. Your Christmas tree may drink 2-3 pints (1-2 litres) of water per day, depending on its size and your central heating settings. This is very important as once the water level drops below the tree’s trunk, sap will re-seal the bark within a few hours, preventing the tree from drinking any further water even if you then re-fill the Christmas tree stand.
6. How to decorate it
- Lights Two people are better than one if that's possible. Lights go on first and one person can feed them to the other as they wind it round and round, starting at the bottom. Embed the lights in the lush greenery and then move out as you go up.
- Decorations The heavier the decorations the more you'll need to keep them away from the tips of the branches.
- Pick a theme Everyone has a different way of decorating but themes look good, whether that's a colour or a certain style such as Scandi (sparse; red and white) or Victorian (wooden decorations, dried fruit, pine cones).
- Tinsel Tinsel has been dying out for a while but ribbon is en vogue, but go horizontally rather than at an angle - it's a much cleaner look.
7. Real vs Fake
- Fake Of course the manufacturing process of artificial trees uses more energy and materials but if you use your artificial tree for more than 10 years it offsets the carbon footprint. Artificial fans will crow about how they only had to visit the loft to pick theirs up, and that it costs them nothing year after year. If you're a fan of the no-needle-out-of-place look, our no-lean, no-drop, no-water range enables you to simply get on with the job of decorating it.
- Real gives you the incredible smell, the bragging rights and the opportunity to choose a different tree each year. It's something the whole family can get involved in - a great way to start the festivities.
Always have a Poinsettia plant at Christmas? Use our 5 ways to decorate your home with this festive essential. Plus cheap and easy Christmas gifts you can make at home.