For the past 12 years we have been involved in the growing and harvesting of Christmas trees on the second biggest tree farm in Europe, just north of Inverness.
Christmas trees take a huge amount of looking after before they end up in your front room in December. They must first be planted and grown in a nursery. Two to three years afterwards they are uprooted and planted in a field. Over the next seven to eight years they will be carefully handled (taking dead lower branches off).
They are then pruned into that distinctive shape we all know, as firs and spruce don't always grow the way you expect, depending on seed genetics. The top whirl then needs budded to maintain a conical shape, and then the trees are "double topped" which removes any additional leaders.
This is a yearly cycle that must be carried out until the tree is around 10 years old and ready for harvest.
Despite the bad press about problems with disposal of Christmas trees by the media, one large farm can be in Carbon neutral status by upto 40,000 tonnes, this includes transport of the trees by external logistic companies taken into account.
We'd always recommend buying a potted tree rather than a cut, as you can plant the tree in the garden and then bring it back in every December.....even better, why not buy a Scots Pine Christmas tree? When it becomes too big to bring in the house, leave it to grow in your garden!