Farmers say Christmas tree crop is bigger than ever despite summer drought
This year's crop of Christmas trees is fuller than normal thanks to our long, hot summer.
While the record-breaking summer drought killed off many seedlings, it turns out the more hardy older trees have thrived.
Christy Kavanagh, chairman of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers' Association, said he had tried to mitigate his losses by planting extra young trees this autumn.
"The drought didn't affect the big trees. A 9ft tree has roots down 9ft. They like the sun as they're a high-altitude species. So they liked our dry summer.
"As a result, the trees are very full.
"The [established] trees thrived in the warm conditions, whereas the young ones died," he explained.
His operation, Kavanagh Christmas Trees in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, plants young trees in spring and autumn. After they were decimated in the lengthy drought, he planted extra this autumn to ensure there will be plenty of trees for Christmas 2028.
In Kelleher's Christmas Tree Farm outside Naas, Co Kildare, it was a mixed year - they lost a lot of seedlings and smaller plants to drought, but the more mature trees benefited from the summer's wall-to-wall sunshine.