Lockdown rules eased for Christmas tree farms

Christmas tree farms can start selling direct to the public despite lockdown rules after the government decided they are essential retailers.

Farms selling Christmas trees were due to remain closed until 2 December, but the government changed the rules over the weekend.

See also: So you want to … grow and sell Christmas trees?

It means people can now buy Christmas trees direct from the farm.

The rule change follows lobbying by the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA), which represents 320 members selling about 7m trees annually.

BCTGA managing agent Heather Parry said: “Christmas will certainly be different this year, but we are here to spread the message that it is definitely not cancelled.

“It’s more important than ever before that we support our local growers, who are now busy doing last-minute trimming and labelling of trees for sale for their biggest time of the year,” she said.

‘Farm-fresh trees’

“They are putting a huge amount of energy into planning new, innovative ways to ensure that farm-fresh trees can be sold safely.

“This can be from increasing their delivery capacity and installing online pre-payment, to busier sites considering timed collection slots.”

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, early orders for UK trees from garden centres and farm shops are said to be significantly ahead of 2019.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many growers change the way they sell, introducing online sales and social-distancing measures for those who want to choose their tree.

Rory Young from Scottish Christmas Trees, in Dumfries, said it is important that people realise they can buy a real Christmas tree online.

‘Buy British, buy local’

“We would say: Buy British, buy local to support local businesses,” he said.

“Don’t forget, there is always the option to buy online, which is something that a lot of local retailers are likely to be offering this year.”

This year’s weather means most growers are on track to supply some of the best-quality Christmas trees yet.

Forestry expert Colin Palmer said: “Across the UK, the trees have just loved the prolonged sunshine, broken by spells of intermittent rain that we’ve experienced this year.

He added: “They have grown well and are a lovely dark green where nutrient levels have remained constant.”

Planted in March and September, growers make huge investments in their crop, as Christmas trees take up to 10 years to nurture before harvest.

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