The Forestry Commission England has issued advice for choosing the perfect Christmas tree ahead of its Northumberland sales outlets opening.
The Government department sells around 35,000 trees each year from 15 Christmas tree sales centres, including Rothbury Auction Mart and Kielder Castle.
Trees are on sale at the following times:
Rothbury Auction Mart - December 1, 2, 8, 10, 15 and 16; from 9.30am to 4pm.
Kielder Castle, Kielder Water & Forest Park - December 9 and 10; from 11am to 3pm.
A spokesman said: "What better way to celebrate the festive season than with the most glorious Christmas tree. But other than size, what are the things to consider when buying your Christmas centrepiece?
"Each tree species can be a little different in size, scent and needle retention so it’s difficult to know which Christmas tree to buy."
Here is the Forestry Commission's guide:
NORWAY SPRUCE - considered the traditional Christmas tree, the Norway Spruce is best known for:
· A wonderful shape and an abundance of branches – great for hanging lots of decorations!
· A lovely ‘Christmassy’ scent that's perfect at this time of year
Who does it suit?
With a long-lasting scent and a traditional shape, Norway spruce are perfect for those who appreciate the classic look and smell of Christmas.
To help your spruce retain its needles you need to place it away from any radiators/fires and water it every day.
NORDMANN FIR - the star qualities of a Nordmann fir are:
· Having soft foliage and an even shape – making it a joy to decorate!
· Glossy, dark green needles that have a whitish/light blue underside
Who does it suit?
With its big needles which are lovely and soft, Nordmann fir are perfect for those with young children.
You will need a big space to show off a Nordmann fir in its full glory. For a 6ft tall tree allow approximately 5ft space.
LODGEPOLE PINE - an ideal Christmas tree due to its:
· Bushy appearance and luscious long green needles
· Branches that point upwards which hold a wonderful pine scent
Who does it suit?
With the best needle retention of them all, Lodgepole pines are perfect for those who like a long festive season and decorate their tree as early as possible.
High ceilings are a must for this tree; make sure you measure the height of your room where you plan to put the tree before you go pick one up from the forest!
Caring for your Christmas tree
Preventing needles dropping and the green from fading on your Christmas tree requires a little bit of care and attention. Follow the Commission's top tips for a longer-lasting, healthier real Christmas tree!
1. Cut off 2.5cm from the trunk to aid with water absorption.
2. Put the tree in a stand with the trunk immersed in water.
3. Keep your tree in a cool, dry space. Away from radiators and fires.
4. Water your tree regularly.
Why buy real?
Being experts in trees, woodlands and sustainable forestry, Forestry Commission England’s real Christmas trees are so good, even Santa has given his stamp of approval. But why buy real?
1. Real trees use 10 times fewer materials and five times less energy than artificial trees.
2. They are completely biodegradable.
3. They are grown in the UK
4. A tree is planted for every tree harvested
5. You’ll have a free baby sapling, to plant your own tree
It will also come with a certificate of authenticity to guarantee the trees quality, which will be signed by Santa himself.
To check out the Forestry Commission's top tree tips on keeping your tree fresh and healthy over the festive holidays, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas