New Brunswick

Christmas tree sales up in New Brunswick, growers say

Some Christmas tree growers in New Brunswick are finding more people are buying real trees — even those who had artificial trees.

Province says the 180 growers generate over $15M in sales every year

This family enjoyed selecting their Christmas tree and hauling it home in wagon says Hi-Lo Farm owner David Kirkpatrick. (Facebook)

Will it be a real tree or an artificial tree? It is an ongoing debate for some when the Christmas season comes around but some New Brunswick growers say the real evergreens are winning this year.

They say over the past few season more people have been buying real trees — even those who had artificial trees.

David Kirkpatrick of Lo-Hi Christmas Tree Farm in Hoyt has been selling Christmas trees at a lot in Oromocto for 25 years. He said people are going back to more traditional ways.

Some of his customers came to him just hours after buying an artificial tree. 

"They spent $300 on this artificial tree but they want to spend $40 on a nice real tree. They said it just didn't smell right in the house and it didn't look right. They felt guilty," he said.

This family hauls their fresh cut Christmas tree home in a wagon from Hi-Lo Farms tree lot in Oromocto. (Facebook)

'Demand is definitely there'

Darin Clark of Ridge Road Farm in Chipman said he's noticed a big demand for real trees at the tree lots in Saint John and Hampton he supplies.

"There's a lot of young families that are coming and picking up trees, more so than the older generation," he said. 

The Department of Energy and Resource Development said there are over 180 Christmas tree growers in the province that generate over $15 million in sales. 

Christmas trees take six or seven years to grow before being ready for the market. (Facebook)

Both Clark and Kirkpatrick are members of the Belleisle Christmas Tree Growers Co-op. Clark said other growers in the group are saying they are seeing an increase in the sale of real trees this year.

"Everybody has been contacting everybody else looking to see if that's been the same thing," said Clark. "The demand is definitely there this year for a locally grown fresh tree."

Tips for keeping it fresh

Clark said as long as a tree is kept well watered, it will last through the whole Christmas season and into the new year.

After being in the business for 30 years and knowing how to care for a tree, Clark said it's a good indication that a tree will last when it takes eight litres or more of water per day in the three to four days after it's put up.

"That's a good sign, that's what you want to see."

Clark said trees need a fresh cut on the stump before being put in the tree stand because it seals itself with pitch after it is cut.

The whole family comes and that's how we're growing.- David Kirkpatrick

The tree grower also offered another important tip: if a tree is stored in a garage or basement before being put up, always put a piece of cardboard between the stump and concrete floor.

"There's nothing that will dry a tree out any quicker is a tree standing or laying on concrete. It will dry a tree out really seriously bad."

Family tradition

Kirkpatrick said he provides fresh-cut trees to customers but advises people to drill a hole up through the bottom of the stump and keep it well watered.

A load of fresh cut Christmas trees from Hi-Lo Farms ready to be sold. (Facebook)

After being in the business a quarter of a century, Kirkpatrick said he has repeat customers and in some cases, sells trees to three generations of the same family.

"The whole family comes and that's how we're growing."