Xmas tree plantings on the up

Some growers predict that a recent rise in planting will lead to an increase in exports to Europe.

A predicted increase in the number of British-grown Christmas trees could mean lower prices and more exports, growers believe.

A drop in the number of trees planted eight years ago has meant that stock is currently limited and prices are high. However, increased planting could mean a much higher number of trees available in future years. This could lead to more trees being exported to Europe.

"People started planting again in 2003 and in a few years there will be too many," said Kilted Christmas Tree Company managing director Gordon Bruce. "There will be some export because there are too many trees in the ground for just the UK."

British Christmas Tree Growers Association secretary Roger Hay said 95 per cent of trees in the UK are supplied by British growers and some are exported to countries including Germany.

"What will happen in the future will depend on market conditions in Europe," he said. "In the former Soviet bloc there is a move to buy cultivated Christmas trees and that means there is less pressure on us. We are benefiting because other big producers are sending trees there."

Hortico owner Piers Lavan said oversupply was not a certainty. "Farmers are now organised growers who work to the market," he said. "There is not a lot of on-spec growing. The big growers here have got their market and know it well."

Star Grower

The winning specimen at this year's British Christmas Tree Growers Association annual competition was an Abies lasiocarpa grown by Andrew Ingram from the Tree Barn, based at Christmas Common in Oxfordshire.

He will supply the tree to stand outside 10 Downing Street. "A lot of publicity goes with it, and that will have a knock-on effect on sales," he said.


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