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Forest Diary, entry six

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Families choosing a Christmas tree

This week we’re marking National Tree Week (26 November – 4 December) at the Forestry Commission - by taking delivery of about 4,500 trees! You might think this is nothing unusual as we deal with trees all year round, but these are a very special kind of tree; freshly cut Christmas trees.

Choosing a real Christmas tree is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the festive season. Whilst many people are hitting the shops over the coming days and weeks, we’ll be busily selling thousands of trees. For the past couple of years, the Forestry Commission has experienced an increase in demand for real trees. In 2010, we sold over 4,000 trees in the New Forest alone. All of the Forestry Commission’s trees are grown especially for Christmas on plantations in the UK and more trees are planted every year than harvested.

But why buy a real tree? Well did you know that real trees use about ten times fewer materials and five times less energy than artificial trees? They smell great too! If it is a real tree you’re after this year, here are a few tips to help your Christmas tree stay fresh and healthy into the New Year. Firstly, stand it in a bucket of water and keep it in a cool place like the garage or shed until it’s ready for decorating. Before you take it indoors, cut off around one inch from the bottom of the trunk and give it a gentle shake to remove any loose needles. The tree should be potted with the trunk in the water but make sure you don’t use sand or soil in the stand as they restrict water from being drawn up the trunk. Last but not least, put the tree in the coolest part of the room and remember to top it up daily with water.

To ensure you find your perfect tree this year, wrap up warm and kick start Christmas early with a trip visit to the New Forest. Our helpful and expert team of staff will be on hand to help you choose and wrap your tree to take home.

Look out for next week’s Forest Diary when New Forest Keeper Maarten Ledeboer will be giving you an insight into his work with deer.

Richard Burke, Forestry Commission's South Walk Forester