“Over £100,000 worth of Christmas trees will be sold in Budgens this year, an increase of 100% on last year” predicts Willie Hamilton, Trading Director for Budgens.
Rob Grant of GB Horticulture, who is supplying the Budgens trees this year explained that over 5,000 quality Christmas trees will be delivered to Budgens stores for Christmas.
With prices starting at £12.99, Budgens customers will have a choice of two tree types. The traditional Christmas tree is the Norway spruce although the Nordman fir is becoming increasingly popular. The difference between the two is that the Norway spruce drops its needles when it dries out, whereas the Nordman fir is referred to among growers as a ‘no needle drop’ tree as it should not shed its needles during the festive period.
Budgens customers will have a choice of two sizes: the 3/4ft potted and 5ft+ potted, then 3/4ft un-potted and 5/6ft un-potted in both the Norway spruce and the Nordman.
It terms of the length of time it takes for these trees to grow, the Norway spruce grows at approximately 12-18 inches per year while the Nordman grows at a slower rate of 6-12 inches per year.
This year, due to an exceptionally high demand from retailers, Budgens trees have had to be sourced not only from the UK, but also from Denmark, Belgium and around the German/Netherlands border. Hot and cold snaps at the end of the growing season in the UK resulted in some growers finding that the extremities of some trees had been damaged and therefore a higher demand for UK trees due to the drop in numbers available.
GB Horticulture decided early to secure Christmas tree deliveries from Europe to ensure the quality and good condition of trees for its customers and to confirm its pre-set prices.
“Denmark and the northern European area where we are sourcing the trees from have excellent climactic conditions for growing Christmas trees,” said Grant. “Trees grow in cooler climates are stronger and the growers we use are well established; with that comes knowledge and quality.”
Deliveries to Budgens stores will begin at the beginning of December and will be made on Danish trolleys, although some of the smaller stores will have their trees delivered loose in smaller vans.
Customers can extend the appearance and condition of their trees through a little care during the festive period. “Although trees dry out quicker in the home due to internal heating,” explained Grant, “measures can be taken to delay this such as misting the trees which will delay the drying out effect. However, great care must be taken to ensure that electrical goods are kept at a safe distance, including tree lights.”
“The market for Poinsettia plants has exploded over the last few years,” said Grant. “Their popularity has soared and those being sold by Budgens are now being transported to stores in the new fleet of temperature controlled vehicles. This ensures that customers receive the plants in excellent condition.”
“We are already beginning to secure trees for next Christmas to ensure we have the best quality trees available for retailers and their customers,” said Grant.
According to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA), the tradition of Christmas trees is thought to date back to 16th Century Germany with them being introduced into Britain during the Georgian period. The BCTGA was established in 1979.