Needle retention is dependent on when the tree is cut – actually what is more important is how hard a frost the tree had before it was cut – if the tree has had a frost and “closed down” for the winter i.e. sap stops rising then there is much less chance of needle drop.
After saying this some large DIY chains are having their trees cut in October – clearly this is far too early especially when they tend to store inside! All Nordman Fir is normally cut by the end of November.
If you cut a tree yourself it will keep its needles better - unfortunately this is not the case as often they have not had a hard frost before being cut. This is why most of our trees are grown in Scotland where we know they will have had frosts and probably snow before they are cut – this allows us to offer our needle retention guarantee. When a Nordman is cut it should NEVER be moved for 24hrs i.e. until the sap has sealed the stump or needle drop can occur – a major issue with cut your own operations who suffer major needle drop problems sometimes.
You can buy a pot grown tree and keep planting it out each year – pot grown trees are great for convenience and to plant out after use but don’t expect it to look pretty if you keep taking it indoors. This is because the tree wakes up in the home, thinks it's spring then is thrown back into winter again; causing poor condition and a scruffy tree thereafter until it recovers after a few years.
Pot grown trees are better for needle retention – again actually cut trees are better because of the reason above.
Growing Christmas trees is easy - if only it were. Nordman take approx. 9 years to reach a 6-7 ft. size and have been meticulously looked after during the process; yearly weed control , leader control, pruning, aphid control etc. etc., even then only the best 10% reach the grade of a Trinity St luxury grade.
All trees drop their needles – spruces drop needles and firs don’t is the general rule eg. the traditional Norway Spruce tends to drop if the tree is inside as does the Blue Spruce which is rarely sold any more. The reason why firs retain needles better is due to the socket where the needle attaches to the branch.