420,000 trees waiting for Christmas

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This year, 420,000 trees from Styrian Christmas tree farmers are expected to make children’s eyes light up. Before they make their grand appearance on Christmas Eve, they have to grow for an average of ten to fourteen years.

The 350 or so Styrian Christmas tree farmers are starting the new sales season: they cut down around 420,000 Christmas trees every year for their big appearance on Christmas Eve. Next Monday, sales will begin in public places in Graz. According to the president of the Chamber of Agriculture, Franz Titschenbacher, about 80 percent of Styrians choose a domestic tree. About 30 percent are sold ex-farm or ex-cultivation, 42 percent at Christmas tree stands, the rest in the trade.

Small, fine Christmas tree cultures
With an average of one hectare, Styrian Christmas tree cultures are rather small compared to the Austrian average due to the hilly landscape and the more difficult cultivation. Around 600 Christmas trees can be planted on one hectare, according to Martina Lienhart, chairwoman of the Styrian Christmas tree farmers.

She reveals, “Harvesting and selling come at the end of a ten to 14 year rearing process with eight to ten visits to the tree each year.” During this time, the sapling has reached a size between 1.6 to two meters – and thus the average tree size sold.

Short transport routes
The short transport distances make it possible to sell trees that have been cut only a short time before: “Styrian Christmas trees have a short transport with an average of 1.4 to 40 kilometers to the customer, those from Denmark are transported 1,200 to 1,400 kilometers,” says Lienhart. Advisable for long freshness and joy is that the tree is stored after the purchase cool, shady and wind-protected and comes only shortly before Christmas Eve in the room.

High season for Christmas tree farmers
On the farms of the Christmas tree farmers there is already for several days all kinds of things to do: “Many Christmas tree farmers invite the population also directly into the Christmas tree culture, in order to select there the personal Christmas tree and to cut this also. There are restrictions on the opening hours: Ex-farm sales and at the stalls are possible until 7 p.m., wearing masks is mandatory,” says Lienhart. Also on mulled wine, cookies and Co. must be renounced this year with the Christmas tree purchase.

hp, Source: steiermark.ORF.at/agencies. picture: pixabay.com

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