The Irish Christmas Tree Growers’ Association (ICTGA) has released its top tips for choosing and maintaining your Christmas tree this festive season.

The top tips guide is a part of the ICTGA’s #lovearealtree campaign, with a recent survey showing that 44% of consumers are likely to buy a real Irish tree.

Choosing the right tree and following a few simple steps to maintain it will help to keep the tree looking fresh for the course of the holiday season, the ICTGA advised.

Choosing a Tree

  • Avoid trees with a large number of dry or browning needles. These trees are already past their prime.
  • Gently stroke a branch on the tree to make sure the needles are flexible and remain attached.
  • Lift the tree a few inches and drop on the cut trunk. If the outer green needles fall off, then you shouldn’t buy it.

Where to place a tree

  • Keep your tree away from open flames.
  • Corners are good places to put a tree to keep it safe from knocks and bumps.
  • If using lights on your tree, place it close to a power socket to avoid having to stretch cables.
  • Do try to place the tree where it will be seen and enjoyed.

Preparing and maintaining your tree

  • Cut a half-inch to an inch off the bottom of the tree to help with water absorption.
  • Never mount a tree into a stand when dry. Place the base in a container of water that you can replenish regularly. The stands which screw into the base are recommended.
  • Make sure the tree gets lots of water in the first few hours, as it settles in.
  • Mount your tree in a stand within 8 hours of cutting the base.
  • Check regularly for sap leakage onto furnishing or floor coverings.

Christmas tree growers recently began harvesting this years crop, as a bumper harvest is expected this season, according to Dermot Page of the ICTGA.

“More than 550,000 trees will be cut, 350,000 plus for the domestic market with the balance being exported to European markets including the UK, Germany and France,” he said.

Consumers are being advised to check that their tree has a label, which will show it has been grown in Ireland.

By choosing a labelled Irish-grown tree at your local garden centre or retailer, you will be supporting Irish growers and helping the industry which is worth €21m to the economy annually.

The recent survey on behalf of the ICTGA also showed that nearly two thirds of consumers, or 62%, say they like the feel of a real Christmas tree in the house, while 43% of people said Christmas is not the same without a real tree.

With the help of the #lovearealtree campaign and by expanding it’s tree labelling system the ICTGA hope the number of people who buy a real Christmas tree will increase.