From the ground, to your workplace: the lifecycle of a commercial Christmas tree


Real commercial Christmas trees are the perfect choice for businesses wanting to give a festive feel to their premises during the most wonderful time of the year.

Although replica Christmas trees are becoming increasingly realistic, and they’re often the best option for achieving more unconventional Christmas displays, sometimes you just can’t beat the unique pine fragrance and authentic feel of a real Christmas tree!

But why is that we decorate Christmas trees and place them in our homes and workplaces each year? Although no one is 100% certain, the tradition may have been inspired by the Romans, who decorated their temples with Fir Trees for the festival of Saturnalia (which was held in December). We also know that Fir Trees have been used to celebrate winter Pagan and Christian festivals for thousands of years.

In Britain, it was in fact Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s German husband), who popularised Christmas trees when he had one set up in Windsor Castle in the year 1841. (source)

Now you know a bit more about the history of the Christmas tree tradition, have you ever wondered where your real Christmas tree came from before being installed on your premises?

Although we may take them for granted, it takes a great deal of care to produce the perfect Christmas tree. For example, did you know that the growing process taking an average of 10 years in total?

With that in mind, here’s the typical lifecycle of a commercial Christmas tree; from the ground, to your workplace, and everything in between…

 Where do Christmas trees originate from?

For homes and commercial and corporate workplaces, the three most popular types of Christmas trees are evergreen firs, spruces, and pines. However, Norwegian Spruce (Picea abies), Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana), and Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens) are most commonly used.

These types of trees originate from the following areas:

  • Originally from Scandinavia, it’s thought that the Norwegian Spruce was introduced to the UK in the year 1548. However, it’s also native to the mountainous areas of Europe, including the Alps, Pyrenees, and Balkans.
  • Nordmann Firs originate from the Caucasus region of Europe, which spans from the mountains south and east of the Black Sea, through to Turkey, Georgia, Russian Caucasus, north Armenia, and northwest Azerbaijan.
  • First discovered growing in the Rocky Mountains in the year 1862, the Colorado Spruce (which is also referred to as Blue Spruce) can also be found in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and far southwest Montana.

Because they drop fewer needles, at PHS Greenleaf, we use the Nordmann Firs for indoor installations of our commercial Christmas trees, and Norwegian Spruce for exteriors.

Stage 1: planting

To start the lifecycle of a Christmas tree, a seed needs to be harvested from the cone of a mature tree, which is then sown into the ground where it develops into a seedling, before growing into a tree.

These seeds require plenty of sunlight to grow into a healthy Christmas tree, which is why they should be sown in spring. They also prefer well-drained soil, and need to be planted in rows spaced at least 7 or 8 feet apart. This is very important as it allows adequate airflow between the trees, which reduces the risk of disease.

Stage 2: growth and maintenance Fir trees growing in a Christmas tree farm

Typically, a Christmas tree will grow for 6 to 10 years before being harvested. Although this may seem like a long time, they require very little maintenance during the growth stage of their lifecycle.

Regular maintenance during this stage includes watering the seedlings weekly in the first year, as well as regularly shaping the tree in the 2nd and 3rd years of growth. This helps trees to maintain their classic shape, and should be achieved by shearing the tree.

Stage 3: harvesting

Once an evergreen fir, spruce or pine has reached the desired height (which is typically between 6 and 7 feet), it can be harvested to be used as a Christmas tree. Although it depends on climate, this usually happens in the first few weeks of November, and involves the tree being cut down with a hacksaw or chainsaw.

After the trees have been harvested, they need to be placed in a container of water immediately. This prevents the initial cut from drying out, which can stop it absorbing water.

Once harvested and placed in a suitable container, your tree is now ready to be decorated in time for the festive season!

Decorated commercial Christmas tree from PHS Greenleaf

Stage 4: decoration and installation

When you choose a commercial Christmas tree from PHS Greenleaf, your tree will be delivered to your premises before being decorated with LED lights and decorations by our team. For indoor trees, we’ll also install parcels and tree skirts free of charge.

All work completed during the installation is fully compliant and will be supported by Risk Assessments and Method Statements.

Stage 5: removal

At the end of the festive period, PHS Greenleaf will uplift the Christmas tree and any decorations from your premises, and ensure the tree is chipped and properly recycled.

Christmas trees will be recycled into mulch, which is used to aid the growth of other plants.

For more information on PHS Greenleaf’s commercial Christmas tree hire service, contact us today.

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