Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 15 October 2018

Christmas trees hit hard by drought as up to a third feared lost

Christy Kavanagh pictured on his Christmas tree farm in Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow. Picture- Gerry Mooney
Christy Kavanagh pictured on his Christmas tree farm in Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow. Picture- Gerry Mooney
The good news is that consumers shouldn’t see any major price hikes this Christmas.
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Christmas tree growers fear that the recent drought has decimated about 30pc of this year's crop.

Christy Kavanagh, chairman of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers association, estimates that about 30pc of new trees planted this year were destroyed by the longest drought here in more than 40 years.

"The big mature trees will be OK," he said, but added that new trees planted this year - especially those that were planted by spade, which cannot go far into the ground - were the most susceptible to the moisture deficit.

Mr Kavanagh personally lost about €6,000 worth of new trees at his farm in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow.

"We lost a year in production and we'll have to re-plant next year," he said.

Most growers who sowed new trees this year are in the same boat unless they planted early before the drought caught farmers off guard, he explained.

Many would be looking at planting early again next year to prevent the same thing from happening next summer if we experience another prolonged dry spell.

The good news is that consumers shouldn't see any major price hikes this Christmas.

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However, they could do so in about eight years' time, when fewer seedlings from this year's crop reached maturity, said Mr Kavanagh.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association is experiencing similar problems.

Irish Independent