Ireland’s Christmas tree growers are gearing up for the start of the 2015 harvest and 550,000 Christmas trees are expected to be harvested before end of year.

According to the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA), over 80 Christmas tree growers across the country will begin harvesting their seasonal crop this week.

Up to 350,000 trees are expected to be sold throughout Ireland before Christmas day, according to the association.

A further 200,000 trees will be exported to European markets, such as the UK, Germany and France.

The most popular Christmas trees are the Nordmann Fir and Noble Fir and the total value of the Christmas tree industry to the Irish economy is estimated to be €21m.

This year, the ICTGA is encouraging families to choose an Irish-grown tree by looking for the ‘Love A Real Tree’ label.

As part of the ‘Love A Real Tree’ campaign launched by the ICTGA, this national tree labelling system will help consumers find a tree that has been grown in Ireland more easily.

Dermot Page, Chairman of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association, said that it can take up to 10 years before an Irish-grown Christmas tree is in peak condition and ready for harvesting.

“As growing conditions have been good this year, trees are displaying particularly good colour, so we’re expecting a very good crop for 2015.

“By choosing a labelled, Irish-grown tree at the local retailer or garden centre this year, families will be supporting a home-grown product of the highest standard,” he said.

Christmas tree

Christy Kavanagh among some of his trees at the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association Field Day. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

Page also said that the Growers were very supportive of the recently-launched ‘Operation Hurdle‘ campaign, which he hopes will reduce the number of trees stolen from Irish farms this Christmas.

A recent consumer survey, conducted as part of the #lovearealtree campaign, revealed that over a third of Irish consumers said they were likely to purchase a real tree this Christmas.

The scent of a Christmas tree in the house was the number one reason why the majority of Irish consumers buy a real tree, while tradition and the experience of picking out the tree were also rated highly.