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How much would you pay for a Christmas tree?

As someone who’s interested in all things gardening, lots of people have confided their concerns about the cost of their Christmas tree. Were you surprised by how expensive real Christmas trees were this year?

A few weeks ago I spoke to Roger Hay, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA), to find out about tree prices this year.

He told me that taller trees – those that are 6.5 to 10ft tall – are likely to be £5 to £10 more expensive due to a shortage. But not everyone wants a tree that big.

According to Roger, we should be paying around £30 for a 6ft Norway Spruce and £36-£45 for a similar sized Nordmann Fir. But a quick straw poll of my friends found that they actually paid around £30 for trees that were only 4 or 5ft tall.

Christmas tree prices on the up

So, what’s going on? Admittedly most of my friends bought their trees in the South East, so the high costs could be unique to that part of the country. Or are Christmas tree suppliers pushing up their prices in line with the general price rises we’re experiencing everywhere else?

Professional buyers say it’s all down to a shortage of trees. Around eight million Christmas trees were bought in the UK last year (up from 2m in 2002), which it’s said has left a shortage of around 50,000 trees.

Plus, according to the BCTGA, over 60m trees are sold every year across Europe, resulting in an estimated shortage of around 5m trees! With demand pushing up wholesale prices and sellers accused of not wanting let go of their margins, we’re the ones getting hit by more expensive trees.

So, if you bought a Christmas tree this year, we’d love to know how much you paid for it. Was it more expensive than last year’s? Maybe you bought a smaller tree, or didn’t buy one at all, to save money?

Comments
Member

I go away each Christmas, which one of the reasons I have an artificial tree. The other reason is that it seems to be such a waste to cut down a living tree, even though it has been grown for the purpose. I used to feel the same way about flowers.

Member

I can’t bear artificial trees – (I bought a VERY expensive one last year because I’d run out of Norway Spruce that I’d grown myself from seeds and I thought maybe a really expensive high quality artificial one would do the trick and I’d learn to live with it. It didn’t work: before I’d even got it fully assembled I was bitterly disappointed and felt sick at the waste of money. It’s in a box in the shed now.) – so I do always either buy or grow a Norway Spruce.

I hate Nordman’s – they are stiff, unyielding and look artificial even though they are real. They are also over priced and whist they may shed fewer needles than a Norway Spruce, they are certainly not non-shed and as they dry out their branches distort and become very grotesque and ugly.

You can grow a Norway Spruce from seed to about 5 feet tall in about 6 years in a pot – mine grow in pots on my allotment now, but I’ve still got a year or 2 to go before the current crop will be big enough for the 6 – 7 feet I like to have.

So this year I bought a sawn off tree from a local Nursery (Wards of Coal Aston – I’ve recommended them on Which? local for many reasons). I have no idea whether these are grown in the UK or imported – I’d like to think UK grown.

The only problem I had was that by the 1st week of December Wards were running out of trees under 7 feet – quite the reverse of the situation described in the Intro – so I’ve had to have an 8 foot tree – which only just squeezes in to the living room with about an inch to spare between the tip and the ceiling.

The cost?

£35 including £6 delivery charge.

I think this is rather reasonable, compared to prices I’ve paid elsewhere in the past.

Lets just hope that having bought it in early December it lasts until Twelfth Night (Jan 6th). At least when you grown your own you keep it in the pot when it comes in and treat it like a house plant: much better for the tree and for the enjoyment of it!

Member
Chris says:
22 December 2011

We bought a 2m Nordmann for £37.50, one week ago.
Very few over 6ft at the dealer, out of a few hundred.
Different from last year.
vbr Chris.

Member
Mike Bryant says:
22 December 2011

Having been working in horticulture for 43 years I am a bit surprised at the prices for Picea Abies, however the price of 37.50 for a 2 m Nordmania is a good price. Norway spruces were deprived of rain at a vital time which reduced their growing by about a half, you would normally expect 1 – 2 ft growth a year.

Member
Mike Pringle says:
22 December 2011

I bought a tree 4 years ago with roots for about £40. It was about 3 feet. It is now 6 feet. So cost so far £10 per year & a few years to go before I plant it in the garden. Most important I think is we did not kill a tree for our pleasure.

Member
john holmes says:
22 December 2011

We checked out local suppliers (a woodyard/timber merchant, DIY centres and a “haulage” yard. Prices for Nordman were £30 to £38 for approx 6′. We offered the haulier £20 for a less bulky, but attractive, tree and he seemed quite satisfied. It looks fine and has lasted well so far. Perhaps we pay too much for tradition.

Member
Tania says:
22 December 2011

We live in a small Suffolk village. There is a small, local area of land where Christmas trees are grown and sold for a few weeks each year. We paid £15 for a approx 6ft tree. It is fabulous, natural and irregular shaped and smells wonderful! I like to think that we are supporting a local business

Member

I wish there was something similar near to me – I would love to be able to buy fresh and naturally shaped trees ‘on the doorstep’.

Well done for supporrting local agriculture.

Member

Where in Suffolk if you don’t mind me asking for future ref? We live in Suffolk and I too thought the trees were very expensive this year. We ended up paying £45 for a 6ft (?) Nordman Fir and it is shedding loads of needles (we’ve been watering it regularly and sawed off the bottom as recommneded). I’d say it is 5ft max but has a rather long top branch. Two years ago we paid £35 from same supplier and it was much bigger too, more like 7ft.