Green Tips: Xcellent Xmas trees!

There’s nothing quite like putting up the Christmas tree…unless you have a couple of hundred to put up! 

We have taken delivery of our shipment from Hole Park in Cranbrook (plus some of our home-grown trees) and are currently putting 200 of them out along the Christmas Trail, in the castle itself and the restaurant and offices here. 

Our trees are all cut specimens and come without root balls, but as they have to last until after Christmas itself, we make sure that there’s a reservoir of water for them all. We are lucky in the main that most of our trees will be displayed outdoors so they look fantastic for a long period of time.  

If you’re going for a cut tree this year, then the best tip I can give you is to leave it outside for as long as you possibly can.  If you are buying a tree with a root ball then the same rule applies: I know of people who leave them outside in their pot until Christmas Eve and only bring them in just before Santa is due to arrive! 

If you want to buy a pot-grown tree then make sure you choose one with a really healthy root ball that’s been wrapped in burlap.  It’s even more important to keep your tree well-watered while it’s indoor so that it doesn’t dry out. 

Stand the tree somewhere cool indoors – beside your patio window is a better spot than beside the fire! Make sure you get the tree outside as soon after Christmas as possible. The shorter its stay indoors then the more likely it is to survive outdoors. You might want to gently acclimatise your tree if it’s coming straight out of your centrally heated lounge, so pop it in the garage for 24 hours before you plant it in the frosty garden. 

If you can cut into the earth at this time of year, it’s better to plant the tree, but you can always leave it in its pot on the patio, as long as you remember to water it regularly. 

If you’re really keen to ‘grow your own’ then you could try growing from seeds.  It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree to six feet but in some sheltered areas the growing time can be half that. 

Neil Miller, head gardener at Hever Castle & Gardens
Neil Miller

Christmas is actually a really exciting time for us gardeners at Hever. It’s great to see the visitors explore the gardens under the twinkling lights of the Christmas trees. However, it’s one thing putting the trees up, but another thing entirely to decorate the gorgeous specimens inside the castle, so I leave that to the castle team, who are experts at distributing the baubles and threading the tinsel!

Visit Hever Castle’s website, and read Neil’s other columns here.

Christmas trees indoors at Hever Castle
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