For those of you who haven’t given much thought to where your Christmas tree comes from and what goes into the growing of the trees, read on.
Scotland has many Christmas Tree plantations, mostly in the South West and North East of the country. The fir and spruce trees are between 5 and 9 years when they are harvested in October ahead of the Christmas market. Before that, there is a myriad of activities that take place to ensure the perfect tree for the celebrations.
Most of the saplings planted in Scotland are grown in Denmark and imported at 2-3 years old. They are then hand planted in prepared soil and nurtured for up to 9 years before the grower can see a return on their investment. During that time, they are fed (fertilised), pruned, weeded, thinned out where necessary, and shaped – these activities are completed annually; and in the case of the fertiliser, more than once per year to ensure the quality of the harvested tree.
During the springtime, when other farmers are thinking of sowing crops or planning fodder cuts the Christmas tree grower is deep in negotiations with the wholesalers to secure their orders for the coming year.
Once the size, variety, and quantity have been agreed the trees that are to be sold are identified and labeled during June and July. This is all done manually, with a measuring stick, so that there are enough quantities of the different types of Christmas trees.
In August, many of the growers and forestry workers meet in the Danish town of Langesoe for the annual Forestry & Machinery show. This gives growers and machinery manufacturers alike a chance to promote their products and buyers an opportunity to survey the market options. During this show, there is also a competition to judge the “best” Christmas tree.
The winners are presented with trophies and the opportunity to provide THE tree to the Danish monarchy in December!
By September, the preparations for harvest are well underway. Stocks of pallets and netting are delivered to the various locations. Machinery is taken out of storage and serviced; and staffing, logistics, and freight are put in place.
In October, there will be Operator Training and Health & Safety refresher courses for staff In November, more than 500,000 Christmas Trees will be cut in the North East of Scotland alone. Again, all the cutting, netting, and palletizing is done by hand, usually outside, with short daylight hours and winter weather conditions.
So, when you speak to a Christmas Tree Grower and think that they only work 1 month of the year – think again! Merry Christmas – ho-ho-ho!!!