Wicklow grower, Christy Kavanagh, has been crowned the Christmas Tree Grower Supreme Champion 2014 for the fifth time by the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association.
The Christmas tree harvest is good in 2014 after "excellent growing and favourable harvesting conditions", according to the association.
State horticulture board Bord Bia estimates that approximately 500,000 trees will be harvested this year by Irish growers, 300,000 for the home market and 200,000 for export, mainly to the UK, with 75 per cent of those grown being Nordmann Firs.
This Christmas, the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association has launched a new initiative, ‘Love a Real Tree’, to highlight the benefits of choosing a real Christmas tree.
This new campaign was developed to include a logo and website (www.lovearealtree.ie) which highlight the benefits of a real tree versus and an artificial tree, in particular that real Irish Christmas trees are environmentally friendly as they can be recycled, while the land used for growing them can be replanted or returned to traditional agriculture.
Kavanagh said: "The look, the scent and the very feel of a real tree are all part of the Christmas tradition. Growing the perfect tree takes more than planting a tree and hoping for the best. It takes seven to ten years to produce a 2 metre tall tree, and this means year round care for the life of the tree by growers to produce the best tree possible. When you buy a real Christmas tree, carefully grown and cultured locally, there is that extra special knowledge that you are supporting nature and the environment."
The Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association represents 100 members nationwide.