Wicklow grower, Christy Kavanagh, has been crowned the Christmas Tree Grower Supreme Champion 2014 in the national Christmas tree growing competition. This is the fifth time that Christy has received the accolade for his Nordmann Fir range in the annual competition organized by the Christmas Tree Growers Association. As an experienced and avid grower, he is enthusiastic about the benefits real Christmas Trees bring to the celebrations, noting that the Nordmann Fir is the most popular type of tree, accounting for 75% of trees sold in Ireland.
The Christmas tree harvest is currently underway due to excellent growing and favourable harvesting conditions, according to the Irish Christmas Tree Growers. 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.
‘Love a Real Tree’ Campaign
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 for your home. 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.
Speaking about the campaign, Christy 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 the major body of producers and suppliers of top grade Christmas Trees in Ireland, with over 100 members nationwide. Ireland has developed a solid reputation for the production of high quality trees for both the domestic and export Christmas tree market.
Christmas Tree Growers Donate 500 trees to Jack & Jill Foundation
The Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association is donating 500 four foot Irish grown Christmas trees to the children’s charity, Jack and Jill Foundation. These trees will be used by the charity to stage a one day giveaway on Saturday, 6th December at two locations; Leopardstown Racecourse and Newbridge Retail Park. The trees are available for an on the spot donation of €16 and are ideal for apartments, offices or smaller rooms. All the funds raised go to the charity with each €16 donation accounting for one hour of home nursing care for one Jack and Jill baby. Visit www.jackandjill.ie for more information.
Your Guide to Choosing a Real Christmas Tree
The Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association has released their top tips for buying your Christmas tree:
- Try not to buy your Christmas tree until you are ready to set it up. In many countries, such as France, the Christmas tree is not set up until Christmas Eve and taken down after January 6th.
- After you bring your Christmas tree home, keep it in a cool place like an unheated garage, porch or patio until you are ready to bring it indoors.
- Set it up in a cool area (less than 15 centigrade) and as far away as possible from sources of heat including fireplaces, radiators and vents. This will prolong the life of the tree for the holiday season.
- Place it in a “water stand”. Most Christmas tree sellers have these available. The stand has a wide base and bolts for giving the tree stability, and a basin for water to keep your tree fresh.
- Just before standing your tree in the water stand, you should make a fresh saw-cut, straight across the stem, at least 3 cm above the original cut. This fresh cut allows the tree to absorb water easily.
- Check out your local County Council website for Christmas Tree Recycling locations near you.
For more tips on buying and caring for your real Christmas tree, visit www.lovearealtree.ie.