Irish Christmas tree growers are expecting a bumper crop this year as the 2015 harvest gets underway.
According to the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA), over 80 Christmas tree growers across the country began harvesting their seasonal crop last week, with up to 350,000 trees expected to be sold throughout Ireland before Christmas day.
A further 200,000 trees will be exported to European markets, such as UK, Germany and France. Harvesting the most popular Nordmann Fir and Noble Fir variety of trees, the total value of the Christmas tree industry to the Irish economy is estimated to be €21million.
This year, families are being encouraged to choose an Irish-grown real tree by looking for the ‘Love A Real Tree’ label. As part of the ‘Love A Real Tree’ campaign launched by the ICTGA, this national tree labelling system will help consumers find a real tree that has been grown in Ireland more easily.
Dermot Page, Chairman of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association, explains: “It can take up to ten years before an Irish-grown Christmas tree is in peak condition and ready for harvesting. As growing conditions have been good this year, trees are displaying particularly good colour, so we’re expecting a very good crop for 2015.”
He added: “By choosing a labelled, Irish-grown tree at the local retailer or garden centre this year, families will be supporting a home-grown product of the highest standards.”
Page also said that the Growers were very supportive of the recently-launched 'Operation Hurdle' campaign, which he hopes will reduce the number of trees stolen from Irish farms this Christmas.
A recent consumer survey, conducted as part of the #lovearealtree campaign, revealed that over a third of Irish consumers said they were likely to purchase a real tree this Christmas. The scent of a Christmas tree in the house was the number one reason why the majority of Irish consumers buy a real tree, while tradition and the experience of picking out the tree were also rated highly.
Advice on how to care for a real Irish-grown Christmas tree is available here
Further information is also available on Facebook/lovearealtree or by searching #lovearealtree on social media.