"A Christmas tree is like a good red wine"

Germany is the land of Christmas trees. For they are cultivated on approximately 50,000 hectares. Christmas trees are grown on around 22,000 hectares in North Rhine-Westphalia, on 3,500 hectares in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, and on some 1,500 hectares in Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg. One person, who knows a great deal about Nordmann firs, blue spruce, etc. is AGRAVIS special cultures expert, special cultures expert, Frank Uwihs.

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Special cultures expert Frank Uwihs (right), here in discussion with customers, is familiar with the latest Christmas tree trends
Special cultures expert Frank Uwihs (right), here in discussion with customers, is familiar with the latest Christmas tree trends

How did the Christmas trees do this year?

The conditions are never perfect. But it wasn't a bad year. In spring, the extremely dry weather afflicted the trees in certain regions. Then the rain came. But overall it was too dry over the year as a whole. In parts, there were also problems with late frosts – in Schwarmstedt, for example. The situation was similar in the Sauerland region. In autumn, problems arose with the colour of trees; an eye must then be kept on the soil properties, fertiliser and pH values. In terms of sales, there appear to be more smaller trees of up to 1.7 m in height available than the larger trees, whereby the latter are actually more in demand. Overall, it can be said that quality prevails in the sale of Christmas trees.

There are also sufficient trees available to customers.

Yes, everyone will find their tree for the festive season. Incidentally, ninety-five per cent of customers opt for a Nordmann fir. The market continues to change, however. Customers will find trees at Raiffeisen stores and garden centres but more and more also at major discount food retailers. The situation is increasingly difficult for street retailers. Christmas tree sales directly from farms have been increasing for years now as an outing for the whole family. Farms located close to cities are doing good business here. They offer mulled wine, tractor rides and Christmas tree felling. Entire firms are booking the experience as an outing. It is increasingly popular.

A tip from the expert: how can I keep my tree looking good for longer?

A Christmas tree is like a good red wine. If you fell the tree yourself, you should leave it outside for a week so that it can come to rest and not take it into the warm from the cold outside straight away. The tree will then look good for longer.

Fact check: according to a consumer survey of products and the market, 50 per cent of Germany opt for a real tree – a declining tendency. There is, however, a growing tendency towards homes without any Christmas tree at all (38 per cent) or who opt for a synthetic tree – so one made of plastic (12 per cent).

Country check: Frank Uwihs explains the differences.

Germany: slender trees for smaller homes with bigger gaps between the branches for real candles

England: large trees (over 2 m) for the hallway, dense branches, as only decorated with Christmas lights

France: max. 1.75 m for small city homes

Eastern Europe: Norway spruces and pine trees from the forest

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