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Traditional Christmas trees face competition

Published: 14 December 2018 - Fiona Garcia

An increasing number of British consumers are shunning the traditional Christmas tree in favour of premium topiary as some species are in short supply in the UK, says one tree retailer. 

UK online garden centre has revealed a growing trend for families to choose alternatives to the usual varieties of Christmas tree, with some topiary varieties outselling traditional trees.

The move is partly driven by supply issues, says founder Chris Bonnett, with some species of traditional tree, including the Nordmann Fir and Norway Spruce, facing a supply shortages and higher prices. 

This is causing families, who are unwilling to sacrifice the highlight of their festive homes, to turn elsewhere this year. However, artificial trees are off the agenda now for a lot of people, due to increasing awareness of the impact of plastic on the environment, and Mr Bonnett says more families are choosing to purchase a real tree rather than a fake one. 

Some environmentally-conscious households are also choosing trees or topiary that can be kept alive in pots, rather than the usual throw-away choices. According to GardeningExpress, preferred replacements for the traditional tree include premium Buxus Trees that are shaped into a customary Christmas pyramid, along with the Blue Spruce, Holly and Corkscrew Bay trees. The substitutes are being used in usual locations, such as the corners of living rooms and hallways, or on patios and porches.

GardeningExpress founder Chris Bonnett said: “It’s a little bit premature to say the traditional Christmas tree is facing the chop but growing numbers of British families are certainly choosing alternatives.

“British households want to keep up the Christmas spirit without being hit in the pocket or facing a battle to secure the usual festive trees of the past. Some are starting to favour trees that can be kept in pots year to year, which is also much better for the environment.

“Many have chosen to forego popular species, such as the Nordmann Fir and Norway Spruce, altogether this Christmas. They are picking species that can continue to serve as an indoor showpiece even after the Christmas decorations are packed away until the following winter.

“Varieties that are now outselling the traditional cut tree include Holly, Bay, Blue Spruce and even Buxus, in topiary lollipop and pyramid form.”

He added: “These alternatives also save Brits the time and effort of constantly sweeping up the mess over the holidays and then trying to get rid of a monster tree in January.




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