On the hunt for that perfect Christmas tree? Here are some tips

From traditional cut trees, to renting a live tree, there are more choices than ever this year.

James Fassinger

Written by James Fassinger
Published on 09.12.2020 11:53 (updated on 09.12.2020)

Christmas trees went on sale last week in the Czech Republic. But for those who want to get out early for the best selection, it's important to keep that tree healthy and looking good before putting it up.

It all starts with the right choice

When choosing a tree, it's important to focus not only on aesthetic aspects like a nice even shape, height, or great color, but if it looks healthy. Often times, during transport, trees can be damaged which may not show at first glance, but can often times, show up later after you get it home. That's why it is important to look for broken branches, faded color and to make sure needles don't fall off when you touch it.

According to experienced Christmas tree sellers, for several years now, the most popular trees have been the Nordmann fir, usually imported from Danish tree farms since they are not native to the Czech Republic. Trees from these farms are usually grown organically, without chemical treatment.

Generally, there are five types of trees you will find on sale at lots around the country. The Association of Christmas Tree Growers (Sdružení pěstitelů vánočních stromků) publish average prices each year, size and thickness of the needles can alter the price.

  • Smrk ztepilý (Norway Spruce) is often the cheapest and drops the needles early. Prices start at CZK 300 - 400.
  • Smrk pichlavý (Blue Spruce) its silvery bluish tinged needles add a unique touch and it lasts longer than its Norwegian cousin. Because of its color it is also known locally as stříbrňák from the Czech word for silver – stříbro. Prices start at CZK 350 - 450.
  • Borovice lesní (Scots Pine) is a famous Christmas tree, which offers something a little more than the spruce. Prices from CZK 400 - 500.
  • Borovice černá (Austrian Pine) features long dark green needles and a sturdy trunk. It also lasts a long time. Prices starting from 400 CZK.
  • Jedle kavkazská (Nordmann Fir) has dark green needles which do not fall out like the spruces. No wonder it is the best-selling type of tree in the Czech Republic. It is also known as jedle nordmannská. Prices starting at 550 CZK.

Caring for them

Trees purchased in advance should be stored in a cool, dark place. Cellars or garages are well suited for this. Keep it in a bucket of water at all times so it doesn’t dry out and keeps its nice green color.

(photo: iStock / Rike_)
(photo: iStock / Rike_)

“Do not place the Christmas tree in the sun or near a heat source. When you want to put it up, make sure to place it in a stand with a water. Keeping the tree watered throughout the holiday will assure that the tree stays green and fresh longer," advises Daniel Brychta from Hornbach.

Those who cannot store the tree in a cool and dark place should buy it as close to Christmas day as possible.

You better not wait

The difficult situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic has caused sellers to import trees in stages.

"I can confirm that we have a sufficient number of trees for the first days they go on sale and we are doing everything we can to ensure deliveries until Christmas. However, I can't predict whether further deliveries from Denmark will be delayed or even interrupted due to the difficult situation in Europe due to the pandemic," explains Michal Pobežal, CEO of Mountfield, about the difficult situation dealers face this year.

Tree farms can be beneficial to the environment

Christmas trees are specially grown for Christmas use, so the harvesting of them does not devastate forests, according to producers. On the contrary, as they grow over their relatively short lifespan, they produce large amounts of oxygen and thus contribute to a cleaner environment.

Because the trees on these farms are not chemically treated, the soil remains good and does not pollute the groundwater. Producers say that buying a cut tree is not necessarily environmentally unfriendly. On the contrary, if the trees were not grown for Christmas sales, no one would have probably planted so many trees to begin with. With replanting on farms over and over again, these areas produce oxygen continuously.

Rent a live Christmas tree

Renting a tree from a company like pujcovnastromku.cz is ideal for those who would like a live tree but do not have a balcony or garden put it in after the holidays. With this service, just choose a tree from the website, pay, and leave the rest to them.

(photo: pujcovnastromku.cz)
(photo: pujcovnastromku.cz)

The company will deliver the tree to your living room and take it back again after the holidays. Usually you can keep it for up to 14 days, because it would not last longer in the heat. Prices start at CZK 700. These trees are usually transplanted into pots at the end of each summer. Customers can then rent it for Christmas and after returning it, some remain in pots for the next season, while others are planted back in the countryside.

Christmas Trees with a Future

The forestry department of the city of Prague (Lesy hl. m. Prahy) launched their annual sale of potted Christmas firs back in November, allowing Praguers the opportunity to choose a tree that will flourish well beyond the festive season.

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(photo: Lesy hl. m. Prahy)
(photo: Lesy hl. m. Prahy)

They say these white fir seedlings definitely do not look like the 'perfect' traditional Christmas tree, in size or shape, but they have one huge advantage - they are trees grown directly in the countryside and are intended to be replanted back there after the holidays, so they don't end up in the trash after Christmas.

This year, the organization is offering up a total of 2,000 fir trees for their annual Christmas fir sale (500 fir trees from the production of their own forest nursery in Čimický háj). You can keep the tree and plant it in your garden next spring, or directly in the countryside. Lesy hl. m. Prahy has planned a spring planting on March 28, 2021 in the Kunratice Forest, for all who want to return their Christmas trees to the countryside.

Where to buy a tree

  • Christmas Trees from the Farm – A family company growing Christmas trees in the Highlands and Prague since 2007. They specialize in black pine and prickly (silver) spruce. Phone: +420 723 243 003 Address: Jaromírova 67, 128 00 Nusle, Prague.
  • pujcovnastromku.cz – tree rental service. Choose from their selection online, they will deliver and pick it up after the holiday. Prices start at CZK 700.
  • Christmas Trees with a Future – The forestry department of the city of Prague (Lesy hl. m. Prahy). Buy a live potted tree and return it to the countryside next spring.
  • Bauhaus – The home improvement store offers cut trees at all their locations from CZK 289 - 3,999.
  • Hornbach – Offering trees at all locations, as well as for order online. Choose from cut trees, as well as live, potted varieties. Prices range from CZK 729 - 1290 for cut trees, CZK 299 - 989 for live, potted trees.
  • Mountfield – Choose from cut trees starting at CZK 339 - 959 at all locations. You can also shop online and reserve a cut tree for pickup at one of their stores, or order an artificial tree from their e-shop and have it delivered in time for Christmas.
  • 4home.com – offering artificial trees delivered to your home sizes in various sizes in traditional stands and pots.
  • You can also check out this map of other locations around Prague and outlying areas.