Wrentham Christmas Trees give their take on the art of choosing a Christmas tree
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
For many families, the outing to pick out the perfect Christmas tree is an annual tradition.
Alongside the switching on of town centre lights, that first mince pie and the Coca-Cola advert gracing our television screens, embarking into a field and choosing a festive fir is a sign that the holiday season has officially begun.
But what kinds of Christmas trees can we actually buy? How should we care for them? And just how tall can they grow?
As the nights draw in and the mornings get frosty, local people are beginning to descend on Wrentham Christmas Trees, a family-run business which has been based at Field Farm for decades and assumed its current name in 2001.
For proprietor Trevor Oram, the busiest time of the year has arrived and Christmas is finally getting started.
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'There's always a real family atmosphere and it's part of the Christmas experience for people to come and choose their trees,' says Mr Oram.
'People come along at the weekend and it's just an enjoyable trip out as it really does signal the start of Christmas time. We hold family values very dearly.'
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However, whilst picking a tree is a long-held tradition for some families, many a festive film has told us that it can be a daunting and challenging prospect.
At Wrentham Christmas Trees there are four varieties including the traditional, pine-scented Norway Spruce, as well as the Nordman Fir, which retains its large but soft needles well.
It's all in the name when it comes to the Blue Spruce, where as the Serbian Fir is narrow and compact.
'The sales trend has changed over the years; people nowadays buy locally so they know where their trees are coming from,' adds Mr Oram.
'Those who like to decorate early tend to buy the 'non-drop' Nordman Fir and we've also noticed an increase in sales of the Blue Spruce, which is spiky but their colour is very striking.'
So you've chosen the tree that's right for you and hauled it back to your humble abode. Now comes the crucial issue of how to care for it.
'Taking care of your tree is paramount during the festive season,' says Donna Oram, operations manager and Trevor's wife.
'Trees should be kept away from sources of heat, well-watered and away from doors to avoid them being knocked into.
'You should also cut 50mm off the bottom of your tree before putting it in a stand to allow water up-take. A sawn tree will last longer than a rooted tree as it has a larger open surface to absorb water.'
Choosing the right tree and welcoming it into your home is a crucial moment, but months of care have gone into the growing process before any of that can happen.
Over the last three years, various schemes have been taking place on the farm to increase the small bird population, which plays an important role in limiting the number of greenflies that cause so much damage to the trees.
'We've been installing bird feeders to encourage birds to nest. Their young feed on the greenfly and it's good for the environment because we use less chemicals to get rid of them,' says Mr Oram.
'We're also trialling a project where we tie ribbon on the trees, which has been shown to attract birds who then feed on the pests.'
In addition, 1st Oulton Broad Cubs are making bird boxes which will be positioned around the farm as they look to earn their DIY and Environmental Conservation badges.
As part of obtaining the badge, it is the duty of the cubs to check back on their boxes to see if they are being used.
Inevitably, not all Christmas trees are sold during each festive season, but those that don't find a home are thinned out and looked after ready for the following year.
'We typically aim for a height of 6ft but lots of people buy them at 8ft and plant them in their front gardens.
'As we've got busier and busier, the height of our tallest trees has declined; 16-17ft are the tallest nowadays - the biggest we've ever had was 33-years-old and 28ft!'
For more information about Wrentham Christmas Trees, call 07774120087.