Christmas tree dilemma

Shop around for your Christmas tree, says Matt Appleby as this year’s crop of festive trees may be a mixed bunch.

Christmas tree
A glut of Christmas trees from Europe may see an excess of lower grade trees on the market this December.
Published on Tagged with ,

It may pay to shop around for Christmas trees this season because a glut of cheap imports are due come into the UK. The weak euro and millions of trees maturing at the optimum six-foot size across Europe mean an excess of lower grade trees will be on the market this December. Garden centres are hoping to maintain prices at up to £50 for a 6ft Nordman fir, but at the bottom of the market, trees could be as cheap as £20.

Wrapped Christmas tree
Always buy your Christmas tree from a reputable retailer. Image: Martin Mulchinock.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) said the market will be split between quality trees and lower grade specimens. “There will be a lot of trees from the continent this year that are likely to be heading towards these shores”, says Mike Craig, BCTGA Chairman. “There will be cheaper trees available but they will be cheaper for a reason.”

However he said that most garden centres are sticking with their suppliers and retail prices. But he warned sellers from lay-bys will be able to source cheaper imports at lower grades. The BCTGA advised that lower grade trees had ‘gappy tops’ caused by excess growth in the warm and wet summer of 2014. This produced a long lead shoot and subsequently this season a larger gap between lower branches and top branches, which looks unattractive and is not desirable in the best quality trees.

Meanwhile, horticultural ambassador and TV personality and presenter, Alan Titchmarsh is opting for a living tree rather than a cut tree this Christmas. “I have a potted tree. They are good if you’ve got the room and the fact that you can plant it outside after Christmas. But the important thing is not to keep planting them out outside your semi because they will eat you out of house and home and leave no light in your windows!”

 

Matt Appleby

About Matt Appleby

Matt is a former teacher turned journalist. He took up writing while in New Zealand and trained as a journalist there. He has since written five books (three on cricket and two on gardening) with The Children's Garden due out in spring 2016 published by Frances Lincoln. He writes for Horticulture Week and other publications. Married with two boys, aged 3 and 6 he lives in London.
@mattapple1
View all posts by Matt.