December 3, 2020 2:00:38 PM
We do it every year. Choose the bushiest, tallest, proudest Christmas tree in the nursery or garden centre, dragging it home in its netting, with dreams of how gloriously festive our home is going to look when it’s laden with baubles.
The reality can be very different. Struggling to even get the huge tree through the front door, it soon becomes evident that it’s just too big and any hope of getting it into the allotted space will mean moving furniture, trying to crush the tree against a wall, and feeling crammed in your living room until January.
So, what can you do if your Christmas tree is too big for the space you want to put it in?
Trim what you won’t see
“If you do need to cut anything off, only cut as much as needed to fit the space. I would go for the back first so that the cuts aren’t visible,” says Stuart Kirkup of Dartmoor Christmas Trees, a member of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.
And Rebecca Stanton, Stylist at Dobbies Garden Centres (www.dobbies.com), similarly suggests: “Trim down branches so that the tree can be slid back more snugly into the space, creating more room, and keeping the main display at the front looking full of foliage. No one will be able to spot that you have pruned back branches off the back.”
Check the height
If your tree is too tall for the room, you can trim the base of the trunk using a saw (do this outside beforehand), or the top of the tree using secateurs.
Start by pruning a little at a time to avoid taking off too much length. You will need to leave approximately 5 to 6 inches at the top of the tree if you want to attach a star or angel tree topper, says Stanton. Also consider the stand you’ll be using and how much height that may add.
Keep the triangle shape
“The iconic Christmas tree shape is a triangle, so if you do need to remove any branches keep this in mind and avoid taking off too much at once, stepping back to survey the look as a whole as you go. Prune back branches that stick out from the overall shape,” Stanton advises.
Disguise cuts with baubles
If you have to prune branches at the front, fill in any obvious gaps and cover up visible bare patches either with baubles or decorative clip-on decorations, Stanton advises. For tinsel lovers, the opportunities are endless.
Use sharp tools for a cleaner cut
Real trees branches are naturally sturdy, so you will need to use pruning shears or a good pair of secateurs. Protect your hands with gardening gloves, as needles can be prickly, Stanton advises.
And if you haven’t yet bought your tree…
“If you are limited on space, then it’s always best to measure the space where you want to put the tree, as they always look smaller at the Christmas tree sales outlet,” says Kirkup.
“People often forget that a standard ceiling is only 8ft so do bear this in mind too.”
Stanton points out that you also need to be spatially aware when measuring.
“Consider how close your tree is going to be to a doorway or walk-through. Do you need to allow space to walk round it?”
Consider a narrower tree
“A Fraser fir is a more slender, compact choice which is ideal for the modern home,” Kirkup suggests.