Grow on and branch out with a real, sustainable Christmas tree

This Christmas, many of us will be enjoying a nostalgic time, reflecting back on Christmases past and providing comfort, joy and magic for children, friends and family in our homes.

For many, it simply won't be a traditional, home-spun Christmas without a real tree taking pride of place in the living room.

For the team at Dobbies, we expect to sell more than 25,000 real trees nationwide over the festive period, and we are bracing ourselves for unprecedented demand from customers opting for the fresh variety this year.

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Real trees are actually more beneficial to the environment than artificial ones, but we urge people to ensure they purchase from retailers who source from sustainable plantations, meaning two or three new trees are planted as saplings to replace each harvested tree.

If you can't see the wood for the trees on which variety to choose, here are some handy tips on which tree may be best for you.

Norway Spruce

The traditional Christmas tree loved by many. This is one of the best shaped trees, producing dense green needles. For best results, leave as long as possible before bringing in to a warm house and make sure you use a tree stand that holds water as this tree needs to be kept watered every few days.

Nordman Fir Trees

A beautiful slender tree with lush, dark green, soft and feathery foliage. This variety has excellent needle retention.

Fraser Fir

This is the most fragrant of real Christmas trees, giving off a delightful citrus smell. Fraser Fir is a narrow tree and has great needle holding capacity.

Noble Fir

This is the number one needle-holding tree. The robust bluey/green fragrant foliage is popular in America where, traditionally, Christmas presents are placed on the tree rather than under it.

Lodgepole Pine

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Grown in the Highlands, this pine makes a wonderful Christmas tree with graceful branches and soft, heavily-fragrant needles which will hold well throughout the Christmas period.

Pot-grown Trees

These are becoming more and more popular each year. Not only do they make ideal indoor Christmas trees, they bring all-year-round colour to the garden after the festive season is over. The Dobbies pot-grown range includes Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, Nordman Fir, Serbian Spruce and Fraser Fir.

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This Christmas, Dobbies is giving away a free seedling tree to customers to encourage people to plant trees in their garden, allowing them to have their own homegrown Christmas tree in a few years.

For details, visit or call the centre on 0131-663 1941.

Steve Taylor is plant manager at Dobbies, Melville Nursery, Lasswade, EH18 1AZ.