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How to pick the perfect Christmas tree with the Forestry Commission and Bedgebury Pinetum at Goudhurst

By Angela Cole

What better way to celebrate the festive season than with the most glorious Christmas tree? Other than size, what should you consider before buying real?

Here, experts from the Forestry Commission’s Bedgebury Pinetum guide you through planning for and picking the perfect tree.

Christmas trees come in all different shapes and size. There are three main types grown and sold by Forestry Commission England to choose from.

Choose a Christmas tree with the Forestry Commission and a free baby sapling
Choose a Christmas tree with the Forestry Commission and a free baby sapling

Norway Spruce

Considered the traditional Christmas tree, the Norway Spruce is best known for its wonderful shape and an abundance of branches – great for hanging lots of decorations! It also has a lovely Christmassy scent.

With its long lasting scent and traditional shape, Norway spruce are perfect for those who appreciate the classic look and smell of Christmas.

Nordmann fir

The star qualities of a Nordmann fir are that it has soft foliage and an even shape – which makes it a joy to decorate. It has glossy, dark green needles that have a whitish/light blue underside. With its big needles which are lovely and soft, Nordmann fir are perfect for those with young children. But you’ll need plenty of space to show it in its full glory: for a 6ft tall tree, allow around 5ft of space.

Lodgepole pine

The Lodgepole pine is an ideal Christmas tree due to its bushy appearance and luscious, long, green needles. Its branches point upwards and hold their scent.

It has the best needle retention, so they are perfect for those who like a long festive season and decorate their tree nice and early! High ceilings are a must – make sure you measure the height of the room where your tree will be before picking yours up.

Choosing the right Christmas tree for your space can be tricky
Choosing the right Christmas tree for your space can be tricky


Preventing needles dropping and the green from fading does require a bit of care and attention. Here are some tips for a longer lasting, healthier real tree.

Cut off 2.5cm from the trunk to aid with water absorption.

Put the tree in a stand with the trunk immersed in water.

Keep your tree in a cool, dry space – away from radiators and fires.

Water it regularly.


According to the Forestry Commission England:

Real trees use 10 times fewer materials and five times less energy than artificial trees.

They are biodegradable.

They are grown in the UK

A tree is planted for every tree harvested.

You’ll get a free baby sapling, to plant your own tree.

Trees come with a certificate of authenticity to guarantee the trees quality – signed by Santa himself. You can also meet Santa and enjoy a range of Christmas activities.

For more on your forest sales centre, or for tree tips visit forestry.gov.uk/christmas

What are you doing for Christmas? Picture: Phil Lee
What are you doing for Christmas? Picture: Phil Lee


Bedgebury’s trees are available on Friday, December 1, Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3, and from Friday, December 8 to Wednesday, December 20, between 10am and 4pm, with free admission for one vehicle buying a tree on the same day.

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