DCSIMG

Growing fir the future in Leeds

PIC: Steve Riding

PIC: Steve Riding

  • by Alison Bellamy
 

An all year round operation on 210 acres of farmland just outside Leeds, ensures Christmas trees will be ready to impress for many decades to come.

The no needle drop variety of Nordmann fir, are hand-pruned throughout the year to achieve perfect symmetry.

And bosses at Stockeld Park, Wetherby, are delighted, for 2013 has been a good year for growing trees.

Under the watchful eye of Geoff Marston, Stockeld’s farm manager for 40 years, this year’s crop of trees is better than ever.

He said: “This summer has helped the trees with the right amount of moisture at the right time. They have grown and coloured up well to a beautiful emerald green.

“It is hard work if snowing or raining when cutting down, but the wildlife out there is amazing, with birds, pheasants, partridges, foxes, some squirrels.

Studies show that a real tree, especially one grown near to your home, is five times more environmentally friendly than a non-biodegradable artificial tree.

Continuously growing for up to nine years before being harvested, an acre of Christmas trees can produce enough daily oxygen for 16 people and absorb 2.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Stockeld also operates the Christmas Adventure with ice rink, Santa’s grotto, Enchanted Forest, Nordic Ski-ing and an illuminated maze.

Mr Marston added: “Christmas Day doesn’t stop for anyone, so we have to have the trees ready. The most popular size sold is 5-8ft with quite a few 10 footers.

BUSINESS TAKES ROOT

Each year 30,000 Nordmann trees are planted.

It can take nine or 10 years to reach 10 feet; some are harvested at six feet after six years.

Each March/April around 60-70,000 tree saplings are planted.

Each winter 30,000 trees are sold to shops or garden centres

A further 3,000 trees are sold on site at Wetherby.

At any one time half a million trees are growing.

The farm is open every day from 9am until Christmas Eve.

 

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