Well what else should I write about for my last blog of the year? !
When we planted Treragin Wood we included 4,000 Christmas trees as a one off crop, in between the broadleaves. Some succumbed to rabbits, and some never had the right shape, but I probably sold half of them, many through the Tavistock Woodlands Sawmill. They bought most of their trees in, but were happy to use me for weekend top-ups, to manage their stock control, and maintain a supply of fresh trees. I sold the trees in large quantities for four years, when I had been growing them for four to eight years.
A few were never harvested, and remain in the wood to this day, which continues to provide the annual White Cottage tree. So I ventured out into the wild wet weather earlier this week and found one to bring home.
Lots of people think about growing Christmas trees, and they can work well, but, you must remember a few things:
• Careful weeding is needed to maintain shape. We sprayed with Round-up in the spring and strimmed later in the year; more commercial nurseries use residual herbicides.
• Pruning can also help, to maintain a dense bushy shape.
• Norway Spruce are the easiest to grow. Needle drop varieties such as Nordmann Fir, are more expensive because they are much slower to grow. Personally I still prefer Norway Spruce, which can be very dense, and if cut fresh and kept in water drop very few needles.
• Don’t expect to sell for the price you see in a shop! I was getting £4 a tree from Tavistock Woodlands, and they were being sold on the same day for as much as double that. I see the price for a 6 foot Norway Spruce at Haldon Forest this year is £27, but they are the best quality.
If you are interested in growing Christmas trees, then you can find a lot of information on the web. A good starter guide is one from Bangor University.