Consumers are being encouraged to buy one of up to 600,000 Irish-grown Christmas trees being harvested this year by the Irish Christmas Tree Growers (ICTG) – and look for the ‘Love a Real Tree’ label.

This national labelling system – part of the campaign launched by the ICTG – will help consumers to support the local economy and find a tree that has been grown in Ireland with ease.

Over 80 Christmas tree growers from across the country are currently harvesting their seasonal crop, according to the group.

The work has intensified this week with growers working to meet deadlines to ensure an adequate supply of trees in advance of Christmas.

Up to 400,000 trees are expected to be sold throughout Ireland and a further 200,000 will be exported to European markets, such as the UK, Germany and France.

Christy Kavanagh, chairman of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers, said: “It can take between seven and 10 years before an Irish-grown Christmas tree is in peak condition and ready for harvesting.

“We are expecting an excellent harvest this year as growing conditions have been particularly good; trees are displaying a good colour so we are looking at an excellent 2018 crop.”

According to the group, Ireland’s climate provides ideal conditions for growing top-quality Christmas trees, the non-shed Nordmann Fir and Noble Fir are by far the most popular.

The industry as a whole is worth an estimated €21 million to the national economy annually.