Careers in Horticulture
Careers information on the many areas of Irish Horticulture
Introduction to Christmas Tree Sector
The Christmas tree industry contributes €25m to the Irish economy, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
With 7-10 years of work going into producing a good quality Christmas tree, the quality of Christmas trees produced in Ireland has increased significantly in recent years. This improvement is due to increased expertise being employed to manage and prepare trees for more discerning customers.
Thinking of getting into the Christmas tree business?
Christmas trees—unlike most crops—take much longer than a single season to reach maturity. “Christmas trees can take eight to 10 years from planting until harvest,” says Tom Harbinson, facilities & hospitality manager of the Jones Family Farms and Winery in Shelton, Conn. “That is a long-term commitment to the crop that a farmer should be aware of going into it.”
Historically, farmers often chose imperfect fields for growing Christmas trees, but if you want to give your trees the best start in life, choose a field with well-drained soil. Christmas trees won’t grow well in wet conditions. And though it’s easy to think that the trees will simply grow themselves without any maintenance, that isn’t the case.
“It is a crop that does still need care, such as pruning and shaping—making sure a single leader points upward to eventually hold a star or angel for a family’s tradition—as well as being aware of diseases that can attack and diminish a tree,” Harbinson says. Each tree must be sheared every summer once they have reached 3 years of age and roughly 5 feet in height to ensure that the branches grow thickly and form a beautiful Christmas tree shape.