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Blackthorpe Barn hopes for a busy 'pick your own' Christmas tree season as slots open tomorrow

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Thousands of Christmas trees ready for new homes are in Rougham just waiting to be picked this festive season.

The first of two ‘pick your own’ weekends at Blackthorpe Barn starts tomorrow, when customers can select their own Rougham Estate Christmas tree, ready to be chopped to order and collected next month.

Rougham Estate has been growing Christmas trees for more than 50 years and now boasts 20 hectares of trees in four varieties – Nordmann Fir, Norway Spruce, Fraser Fir and Blue Spruce – with 5,000 new trees planted every year.

Feature - Rougham Estate Christmas trees....Picture by Mecha Morton...... (52940188)
Feature - Rougham Estate Christmas trees....Picture by Mecha Morton...... (52940188)

“Once upon a time we sold our trees out of the car park at the back of the estate office, but it got bigger and bigger,” said estate manager Simon Eddell, adding that tree sales moved to Blackthorpe Barn about 30 years ago.

In 2019, for the first time pick your own tree was offered as an option, being ‘really well received’.

“We are hoping it is going to be a really busy event, particularly on the back of the success of our sunflowers and pumpkins this year,” said Simon.

Feature - Rougham Estate Christmas trees....Picture by Mecha Morton...... (52940191)
Feature - Rougham Estate Christmas trees....Picture by Mecha Morton...... (52940191)

“It offers the chance to come out and pick your tree while it is still standing. Then when customers come back for their collection slot it will be netted and ready to go, having been freshly cut.”

Pick your own customers – who can book slots online – are given a map, a tag and once they have chosen their perfect tree they simply need to tag it and make a note of its location.

Then, it will be chopped just before a pre-arranged collection date nearer the big day.

“We pride ourselves here that all of our trees are cut fresh within a mile of the barn, so there are ‘zero tree miles’ and they are all cut within a few days of going on sale,” said Simon.

Real Christmas trees should be treated like cut flowers, according to Simon, but when it comes to tips for choosing a tree he says ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

“It is up to the individual which tree they choose,” he said. “But the thing I look for is a conical shape with evenly spaced branches and I like them bushy.

“Think about how long you will have the tree in your home. If you want to decorate early, get a Nordmann Fir as it will hold its needles longer.

“The Norway Spruce will be fine if you get one freshly cut and you’re not expecting to have it as long, plus you get a lovely pine smell,” said Simon.

His other tips for maintaining your Christmas tree include making sure it is not placed close to a radiator (or the underfloor heating is turned off) and to give it lots of fresh water.

“We also recommend cutting a little off the bottom of the tree, just as you would cut flowers,” added Simon.

Pick your own tree on November 13, 14, 20 and 21. Book a slot (walk-ins subject to availability) at www.blackthorpebarn.com/christmas/pick-your-own-christmas-trees/

Pre-cut Nordmann Firs are available from Blackthorpe Barn from November 19 and Norway Spruce from next month.

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