During the holiday season, there’s nothing quite like putting up a Christmas tree and adorning it with festive ornaments. In Ireland, we have many Christmas tree farms that are solely dedicated to harvesting these festive favourites.
While we may only think about Christmas trees during the festive time of year, they have a whole life cycle that’s incredibly interesting to know. So hold onto your sleigh bells, let’s take a ride into the life cycle of Christmas trees in Ireland.
Understanding Growing a Christmas Tree
In Ireland, most Christmas trees hail from the Evergreen pine family. They are usually planted in rows or pots, however, the latter isn’t usually recommended for full growth since they need ample space to grow and develop their cone-like shape. At home, though, pots are great (and we’ll talk about this more later on).
After a tree is planted is when a Christmas tree farmer’s work begins. Christmas tree farmers take the time to fertilise the trees, shear them, maintain crop control and harvest them once they become ready for sale.
A farmer is also responsible for making sure the Christmas tree can prosper in the right environment, and in some cases, adapt to the wrong environment. For example, some studies show that certain types of Christmas trees such as the Noble Fir grow best in minimum temperatures of minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This isn’t always possible, and so Christmas tree farmers have had to adapt to the ever-changing temperatures.
On average, it takes about 10-12 years to grow a 6-7’ Christmas tree from a seed.
What Happens When It’s Ready for Sale?
When a Christmas tree has hit maturity and is ready for sale, the Christmas tree farmer will cut them down. Once a tree is sold, the farmer will plant another seed so the farm has a continuous rotation of Christmas trees available for future seasons. So while you’re off to display your new tree, a Christmas tree farmer is already gearing up for the next season, continually planting, shearing, pruning, and protecting the crops for the next holiday season.
What Should I Do With My Christmas Tree After the Holidays?
Depending on the type of tree you purchased, there are several things you can do. First, if you purchased a potted Christmas tree, you can undecorate it and leave it on display in the home or office until the next holiday season. This is because potted Christmas trees can live for many years to come.
If you purchased a freshly cut Christmas tree, the shelf life won’t be as long, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of neat things you can do with it. Below, are some things you can do with your Christmas tree once you’re done with it:
- Use the pine needles for mulch. Pine needles decompose slowly, which means they are great to use as mulch. This is especially true since these needles are full of moisture and free of mould.
- Add it to your soil. If you have a chipper, you can toss your tree in to chip it and add it to your soil. This will help to prevent weeds from growing in your garden or underneath shrubs.
- Feed the birds. If you don’t want to throw your tree out or chop it up, you can leave it on its stand outside and hang bird feeders off it. This is a really fun and unique way to give back to wildlife. For a more cost-effective method, you can always cover pinecones in peanut butter and let them hang off the branches, as well.
- Light an outdoor fire pit. Outdoor bonfires are a ton of fun during the winter months, and pine needles are very flammable, making them a great option to use. Remember, you should only use a few of these branches due to how flammable they are and only use them outside. Do not ever put Christmas tree branches in an indoor fireplace, as this is an extreme safety hazard.
- Use the branches to stake up other plants around the house. Staking plants help them to grow. You can strip the pine needles off the tree branches and use them to help stake existing plants around your house. It’s a great cost-effective alternative to buying traditional materials.
The life cycle of a Christmas tree is interesting and we hope this blog inspired you to try something new during the upcoming holiday season. At Kavanagh Christmas Trees, our farmers take great pride in growing, nurturing, and protecting our crops so that they are in pristine condition for your holiday display. With every purchase, our family-run farm makes a donation to the Irish Osteoporosis Society Charity. (link to source) With Kavanagh, you can trust that you’re buying the best Christmas trees in Ireland. Visit us here to get your tree today.