How to make sure you bag the best in Christmas trees

Choosing a Christmas tree could be trickier this year because of the severe weather.

You will have to dig deep in your pocket if they want a Nordmann fir non-drop Christmas tree this year. This is the most popular tree because of its deep green colour and reliability that it won't drop its needles. In the past five years, prices have risen by up to 30 per cent. This time a price tag on a six foot tree may be 45.

But there are others which should last through the festive season. The Fraser fir (Abies fraseri), popular in the eastern United States, is narrower than other trees and therefore more suitable for smaller rooms. Or if you want to save money, go for a home-grown Scots pine or Lodgepole pine, which are likely to cost about 10 less than the same size of Nordmann fir.

These trees don't drop their needles and are bushier than the Nordmann. Some have cones on them and they are wonderfully fragrant.

When deciding on a tree, check that the needles are not dull and dried up and that the branches are not brittle. Remember to gently shake the tree to ensure the outer needles are not falling off.

YP MAG 11/12/10