There’s a lot to be getting on with at Christmas, and one of the first things most of us have to confront is the business of the tree. Perhaps this is because it doesn’t feel immediate or real until the tree is up & sparkling. Perhaps we think it’s the easiest step in preparing for the festive season. If the latter is the case, many will find themselves mistaken.
As with most of Christmas, early each winter (or likely much earlier) we're confronted with bewildering arrays of choices, prices & styles.
Plastic 'trees' continue to confound Christmas traditionalists, and more than ever. Fibre optic, hyper-realistic, tree-scented & collapsible variants all vie for our attention - and these are the good ones. Among the shelves lurk yet more arboreal aberrations, anomalies and abominations.
When it comes to the pressure, stress & chaos of this, the season of goodwill & peace to all men, we're all after corners to cut. It can be a comfort to imagine unpacking the old plastic tree and smugly ticking one more task off your list of jobs. Yet unsquashing the old, dusty tree from the back of the attic each year makes for an unfulfilling opening to the festivities. A Christmas spent staring at hairbrush-like bristles, wobbly sockets and unstable, tiny feet plastic feet make the most striking plastic tree feel like a bit of a cop-out.
If you decide to plant your tree, remember to keep the tree warm & watered indoors until spring. Plant it to the same depth as its roots grow - if you find yourself covering the top of the earth at the foot of the trunk with earth - it's too deep. You may, however, insulate the vulnerable tree base with bark or chippings. The hole you plant it in needs to be positioned taking into account the fact that these trees can grow to enormous size. It should also be three times wider than it is deep, as roots prefer to grow outwards before they grow down. If the soil is poor, consider using additives to promote root growth.