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06 Dec 2017

Treeday-9th December

Kjeld Kristensen, Christmas Tree Supplier - Christmas 2017

Waitrose predicts that the 9th December will be the busiest day for the nation to pick their tree, with one sold every six seconds at the supermarket.

Customers wishing to really impress guests can upgrade to a giant 9ft tree from Waitrose for the first time. Waitrose is the only UK supermarket to offer 9ft trees this year which are already proving popular with shoppers. 

Samantha Brett, Christmas Tree Buyer at Waitrose comments; “This Saturday will be our busiest day for sales of festive firs as the nation gets into the spirit of Christmas. We’re predicting that our new 9ft tree will be popular with customers looking to impress friends and family.”

Grown on the Black Isle, near Inverness, the trees are grown by Kjeld Kristensen (pictured) and over 130 of his colleagues who work tirelessly harvesting the firs which are hand-pruned to ensure the best shape.

All Waitrose Christmas trees are accredited with the LEAF Marque- a farm assurance system, ensuring that products are grown sustainably with care for the environment.

“It’s all about the shape,” Kjeld explains. “We get four-year-old trees from a nursery and we base-prune them to get the stem. Then when they’re four to five years old, we prune the branches to get the A-shape. That’s all done by hand with secateurs – our guys do a thousand a day. And every summer, we pinch out the shoots by hand to keep the shape.”

Pot-grown trees are harvested after five years on the farm, and cut trees at eight to nine years, but before that every tree is checked for quality. The team starts in September, looking to see that each tree is the right shape and size and healthy. It takes an average of two months to check them all. Once the trees are harvested, the stumps are chopped into the ground, and the area is replanted. 

Kristensen, who’s Danish, has to select his own tree. “The Danish tradition is that we bring ours in around the 22nd, so I’ve only got the last few to choose from. My wife knows exactly what kind of tree she wants and I can never find the one that’s quite right!”

Notes to Editors:

Picture credit - Brendan Macneill

Ask Alan Titchmarsh: Christmas trees

Q: Is it possible to find a tree that doesn’t shed its needles all over the floor? 
A: All Waitrose Christmas trees are Nordmann Firs, which hold onto their needles for the longest possible time and if you treat yours well, it should look good with minimum needle drop right through until new year. Don’t bring it indoors too soon – leave it in a cool place, such as the garage, until as close to Christmas as possible then once you do bring it into the house, choose a spot for it away from radiators and fires (and also away from cold draughts). 

Q: Which is best – a cut tree or a pot-grown one? 
A: It’s really a matter of personal choice. A pot-grown tree is smaller, so is good where space is is at a premium and it can stand in its pot in the garden afterwards and then be brought indoors for the festivities again next year. Alternatively, it can be planted straight out in the garden (but do bear in mind that it will eventually grow quite big!) and be sure to put it in a greenhouse or shed for a few weeks after Christmas to acclimatise it before you stand it outside. You’ll find pot-grown trees in two sizes in store: Waitrose Garden British Pot Nordmann Fir, 65-85cm, £25, and Waitrose Pot Nordmann Fir, 95-115cm, £35. If you want a large tree, go for a cut one: Waitrose Garden British Nordmann Fir, 1.8-2.1m, £45, and Waitrose Garden British Cut Nordmann Fir, 2.1-2.4m, £55. Waitrose also has a really tall 2.4-2.7m tree, ideal if you’ve got a large room with high ceilings: Waitrose Garden British Cut Nordmann Fir, £70. 

Q: We’re not at home on Christmas Day so I don’t want a big tree, but I’d still like some festive foliage. Any suggestions? 
A: There are lots of great alternatives that will give your home a festive feel.  A mini artificial tree like the Waitrose Christmas 80cm Silver Berry Tree, £20, looks great in a porch or on a table in the hall, for example. Or for outside the front door, how about a Buxus Garden Planter With Lights, £45, a Christmas Holly Tree Planter, £68 or on an outdoor windowsill, a Large Red Winter Garden Planter, £38, all available to order online and delivered to your door from waitroseflorist.com.

Q: Do I need to water my Christmas tree? 
A: If you’ve bought a pot-grown tree, you just need to keep the compost moist but not wet. For a cut tree, ideally saw off a 2.5cm-thick slice from the base of the tree when you get it home (don’t whittle down the sides, though – the outer layers are the most efficient at taking up water), then stand the tree in a bucket of water overnight. Once you’ve brought it into the house, use a reservoir stand (like the Waitrose Quick Christmas Tree Stand, £15), remembering to top it up regularly.

For further information please contact the Waitrose PR team at ZPR on 0207 287 5006 or email waitrose@z-pr.com.

Information and prices correct at time of release.  Waitrose customer enquiry number is 0800 188 884.

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