Way back when Farmer Tom was just a young farm hand, your typical choice of Christmas trees here in the UK was between a Norway Spruce and … a Norway Spruce. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find a choice of a few different varieties at all good
bookshops Christmas tree outlets.
One of the most regular questions we get asked at the plantations is “what’s the best non drop tree?”. Or, in fact, quite often it’s “what’s the best non-drip tree?” … but we’re far too polite to say anything. If you’re here because of an aversion to hoovering, though, read on!
If you want to shop ’til you non-drop, we’ve lined up the best options below. But first, a little bit of context. Of course, no tree is truly “non-drop” (except for one that’s still growing!), and although there are lots of steps you can take to make your Christmas tree last longer, from the moment a tree is cut it will start to dry out and, eventually, the needles will drop off (they are, after all, effectively the tree’s leaves). Trees are considered “non-drop” if they retain their needles for significantly longer than traditional varieties (like the Norway Spruce). Generally speaking, Firs (as opposed to Spruces) are better at keeping their needles for longer.
Before other varieties became popular in the UK, the Blue Spruce was considered a “non-drop” tree, so it’s unlucky to make our top 3, but it’s simply been beaten out by some big hitters in the world of needle retention 😉
If needle retention is your number one priority, you can’t beat the Nordman Fir. Originating from the wilds of Hungary, the Nordman has become hugely popular in the past decade here in the UK because of it’s lovely soft needles, it’s bushy nature and, of course, it’s ability to hold on to it’s needles better than any other contender. Hats off to you, Nordman Fir.
But, whilst it’s top of the crop, you shouldn’t look past your other non-droptions…
Pretty new to the UK market, the Korean Fir is a serious contender to the Nordman's throne as Britain's bestseller, and it's pretty much a photo finish in terms of needle retention. Korean Firs will cling on to their needles for a good few weeks with the right care and have the bonus of having a lovely scent.
Finishing a very respectable joint-third is the Fraser Fir. Native to the southern US of A, it’s often the tree of choice for the White House, but it’s name is a hat-tip to a canny Scottish botanist (good work John). The Fraser certainly out-does the Nordman when it comes to it’s beautiful scent, which is a touch citrus-y.
So that’s the Fraser, let’s move on to our next fir…
Rounding out our Top of the Non-Drops is our fantastic Sussex Fir. Much like the Fraser, this has a slightly slimmer profile to the Nordman and has a lovely scent. With both the Fraser and the Sussex, whilst they hold their needles well, the sticky sap tends to hold old needles from former years within the tree, which do then fall a bit as the sap warms up in the house.
Nevertheless, the Fraser and Sussex are both low drop varieties.