From seedling to sitting room

Wednesday 16 Dec 2020

Australia: How your real Christmas tree came to be in your sitting room

Seven years before Sydneysiders set out to pick up the perfect Christmas tree, farmer Lawrence Ranson is busy drying out pine cones and settling the seeds in for a fake winter.

“They have to think it’s winter for about six weeks in the fridge or they won’t grow,” Mr Ranson said. “Then we plant them out in the nursery, grow them for a year until they’re ready to go out in the fields.”

Mr Ranson then supplies seedlings to Christmas tree farms across NSW. Christmas tree farmers such as Greg Thomas at Kenthurst then plant the seedlings to save time in the farming process.

Mr Thomas plants more than a thousand radiata pine trees every year, beginning work as soon as he closes his gates for the Christmas season.

The Christmas tree stumps are removed from the ground by a machine. Then, in winter, seedlings are planted in their place.

“It’s labour-intensive. There’s not a lot of IT involved,” Mr Thomas said. “It attracts me because it’s so bloody simple.”

A 2.7 metre Christmas tree can take seven years to grow. The trees are pruned and sheared into a conical shape throughout the year.

Mr Thomas begins selling the trees in November and then closes in mid-December when all the trees are sold out.

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