Will your 2018 Christmas tree be plastic or real?
The other week I was up in the Black Isle learning about the business of growing real trees. The farm we visited sold around 650,000 trees a year, and was preparing for its late November rush on cutting and sending out to the shops. We were there with the folk from Lidl, and you could see hundreds of trees tagged with the store’s label, ready to be cut and sent out to the various…ahem…branches.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a real tree, but they were a staple in my childhood Christmases, and I still miss the smell of them in the corner of the living room. I still remember my mum getting a bit annoyed about all the needles dropping, though, so I was fascinated to hear that they’ve worked their way around this these days with a new species of tree – the Nordmann fir.
Apparently the old-fashioned Norman spruces have needles that attach via a peg, which breaks down after the tree is cut. Thus the needles drop. But the Nordmann has these clever little ball-and-socket joint needle attachments that stay solid. Hopefully you can see what I mean in the pic below!
You’d be amazed at the love that goes into making the perfect bushy tree. Long gone are the days of buying one with a huge gap in one area and a wonky top. The trees are pinched, pruned and teased into beautiful triangular shapes by hand, to make everyone just right.
Farm manager Charlie told us that it’s not a plant-them-and-forget-about-it industry at all. He told us the same amount of care and attention goes into a Christmas tree crop as it does into a field of wheat – but they have to wait a decade for the result!
Head down to Lidl and pick up yours now, and don’t forget to read the feature in our huge December 8 bumper issue, on sale December 5.