Christmas tree shortage sparks price hike
THE price of Christmas trees has spiked due to a supply shortage, after growers dramatically scaled back in recent years the numbers they planted.
The shortage means that the cost of a festive fir is rising -- with average trees now costing between €40 and €70.
The number of trees has fallen from a height of 200,000 seven years ago to just 25,000 this year.
A poor return for their investment a few years ago also meant that many of the main Christmas tree producers across Europe did not replant.
This has lead to an estimated four million shortfall of Christmas trees across Europe.
Some producers among the Irish Christmas Tree Growers (ICTG) are already warning that they've sold out of trees for 2011.
But Coillte Christmas tree project manager, Bill Berkery, says anybody who wants a real tree should be able to get one.
"Supplies are tight but there should still be enough," Mr Berkery told the Irish Independent.
Mr Berkery said about half of the country's 750,000 trees were destined for the domestic market and the remainder would be exported to the UK and Europe.
Mr Berkery said there was a small amount of British Christmas trees -- mainly from Scotland -- that had made their way here but these were not having any effect on price.