Heavy rainfall will not affect Christmas tree supply, according to growers

Long spells of rain have left Christmas tree growers worried about the upcoming festive season.

Photo source: Christy Kavanagh

Ten days of rain arrived just before the harvest period and what is expected to be an extremely busy week at garden centres and shops.

450,000 trees are expected to be sold nationwide over the coming weeks.

The Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA) says the weather has led to extra costs in terms of time and labour.

Christy Kavanagh, a spokesperson for the ICTGA, has said that while circumstances are difficult to extract trees at the moment because of the recent heavy rain, they are doing it and there will not be a shortage.

"We're still supplying garden centres, it's just a lot of hassle at this end. They could be a day late."

"We have to think of the health and safety of workers."

He explained that when trees are cut they have to be left on the ground for three days to allow the release of gas, then they are brought from the plantation to the yard where they are processed at night, loaded on pallets and then distributed.

All the time they have to be kept clean for customers which is difficult in wet and muddy conditions.

However, business is very good this year he said with 450,000 trees being sold in Ireland and a further 200,000 will be exported to the UK, Germany, Holland and Denmark.

Sales could be up by 5-10% this year, he added as artificial trees are no longer in fashion.

Growers always keep a prudent reserve to meet demand, he said.

The unique conditions in Ireland make it an ideal location for the growth of Christmas trees and he encouraged more farmers to consider growing trees.

"It's a nice life."

Source: Irish Examiner