The fir is clearly part of the magic of Christmas. Especially for the children, look forward to the decorating and see trôner in its usual place in the living room! But how can you be sure, by buying it now, that the tree will retain its needles and freshness until the big day?

To avoid such disappointment, the producers of fir natural, which represent 90% of Christmas trees sold in France, offering for the third year in a row of trees at Red Label are produced according to a very strict specifications. “The first guarantee relates to the date of slaughter which is to take place as late as possible,” says Sylvie Robert, general delegate of Excellence plant , an association that brings together horticultural producers, distributors and gardeners who taught the folder with the INAO. It is as well that the fir Red Label need not be cut away before the 21st of November for a bet on the market not earlier than the 1st of December.” However, it is important to know that some of the trees standards are sometimes torn off from the end of October, a period of time, especially in recent years where the temperatures, still high, are incompatible with a good preservation.

see also: VIDEO – History of plants: the Christmas tree and the Prussians

fir, Nordmann today accounts for three-quarters of the market. BERTRAND BODIN/ONLY FRANCE/AFP Forum

These trees top-of-range must also meet aesthetic criteria very pushed in terms of color, symmetry, taper, harmony, balance. “This is really the cream of the fir trees, the difference jumps to the eyes!”, highlights Frederic Naudet, president of the French Association of Christmas tree natural and producer in the Morvan, one of the main regions of production with Brittany, the Savoie, the Ardennes, the Rhone, the Loire and Haute-Loire.

price, 15 % higher (on a national average of 26,85 euros last year), takes into account additional constraints imposed by the label in terms of planting density, which must not be too high to allow the tree to become well-spread, of fertilization, of size but also of selection with a double sorting at the end of the summer and at the time of the cut.

Knowing that it takes seven years to produce a tree of 1.50 m high, and three years more to reach 2 m, the label still represents only 1 % of the market, that is, 60 000 trees proposed since the last weekend in over 500 points of sale, in particular Truffaut, Botanic, Bricorama and Jardiland, a total of 6 million units (up 23 % since 2007). “It takes time as the trees grow, but the demand is there: in three years, sales have more than tripled,” says Sylvie Robert.

away from heat sources

In the meantime that the bid is sufficient, the acquisition of a fir tree which is locally produced in France is a good guarantee of freshness. But other factors are involved. Label or no label, the tree, once bought, should be kept away from heat sources (radiator, fireplace, window exposed to the sun), the temperature of the room must not exceed 22 °C and must be watered regularly, even if it has no roots. “It is especially important this year, because the trees have suffered much from the drought,” warns Frédéric Naudet. In practice, it is sufficient to install the base of the tree in a container of water, but some trees are now sold with a tank dedicated to them.

Plantation of firs, Nordmann under the snow. Sabine Hortebusch/Sabine Hortebusch –

The choice of species is also crucial: the fir Nordmann ( Abies nordmanniana ) keeps its needles longer than the spruce ( Picea abies ) which has a tendency to lose them, but which, unlike the first, gives off a good smell of resin. “The solution for the followers of the spruce is to buy the tree a week before Christmas because it will keep better fresh from the distributor in a heated room,” continues Frédéric Naudet. But it reduces remarkably the time of presence of the tree in the house. Difficult to reconcile… One thing is for sure, the Nordmann, steadily increasing over the past ten years and now represents three-quarters of sales.

see also: VIDEO – How to pick and make his Christmas decorations

there Remains a question to which it is increasingly difficult to escape these days: this centuries-old tradition, particularly in the east of France and Germany, is it environmentally acceptable? Would it not be better to leave the “king of the forest” in its natural environment? In fact, Christmas trees come from plantations-specific that cover an estimated area of 5,000 hectares in France. Their production, renewable, since the plots are replanted every ten years is more agriculture than forestry. In addition, it is much more ecological to buy a natural tree that an artificial fir made from petroleum. A canadian study has shown that the second (which represents 15 % of the market with 1 million units sold) contributes three times more to climate change and resource depletion, knowing that he is retained for six years on average.

see also: HORTIQUID – How to replant his Christmas tree?

Small spruce tree in pot delivered prédécoré home. Here the new model of the “Tree of the kings” with his peacock feathers. Laura Déon/Mylittlesapin

Another positive point: the natural tree is increasingly recycled (composting, wood chips) or to be replanted after the season is over. Only 15 % of the trees are thrown, a figure in steady decline. The association Handicap International offers for the sum of € 5 for a “bag tree” in biodegradable material, which allows it to evacuate more easily to waste while contributing to a humanitarian. Garden centres Botanic have put on foot, on their side, the rental service of the firs Treezmas: the tree is shipped potted by Chronopost, and returned to the producer for it to be replanted. But the recovery rate is very low, in spite of the instructions provided to the customer so that the tree does not suffer too much, and the cost of delivery remains high (between 60 and 110 € depending on the size).

Launched a few years ago, the service nurseries Naudet, offers small spruce trees (35-60 cm and 60-80 cm) prédécorés, with 11 jewels, different, delivered in pots sufficiently large so that the tree can be reused the following year or planted in the garden with a maximum of chances of recovery (price between 31,50 and 53,50 euros, delivery included). It has to be borne in mind, however, that the Nordmann and spruce are all arbres of forest which can reach to the adulthood of impressive size. Small gardens abstain!

Spruce and fir Nordmann: how to recognize them?

needles of the fir Nordmann (left) are longer than those of the spruce (right). F. D. Richards under CC license

These two species of softwoods are the two major “trees” used for Christmas decorations. Very close to the beautiful fir tree of Vosges ( Abies pectinata ) which only grows in the mountains between 400 m and 1800 m altitude, the fir Nordmann or spruce from the Caucasus (Abies nordmanniana ), has tamped the pawn of spruce ( Picea abies ), formerly a majority. The latter, which is not a fir tree in the botanical family sense, no longer represents more than 25% of the sales of Christmas trees. It is true that the Nordmann has many advantages: its hands, flattened and rounded at their tip, do not sting, and, as it supports the heat better housing, they fall less quickly than those of its competitor. For this reason, its chances of times, if you want to plant in your garden, will be better.

Mr. Mr.

SEE ALSO – History of plants: the Christmas tree and the Prussians


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