Plants and Pipettes

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Advent Calendar Day 8: The place Christmas trees grow

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you know where your Christmas tree is from? Chances are you can pinpoint the nursery that grew the trees in your local area, but where did they get the seeds?

If you bought a Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana), it was most likely grown from seeds harvested in Georgia. That’s Georgia the country, not Georgia, USA. Nordmann firs grow in Georgia in altitudes above 1000 m where tree climbers harvest the still green pines from the tree tops and send the seeds to tree nurseries around the world. There, they’re grown to reach the desired height – a two meter fir grows for ten years!

Nordmann firs have earned their place in the hearts of Christmas decorators for their even pyramidal growth, their non-spiky needles and their ability to withstand a long period in warm homes without dropping those needles. They’re also structurally sound enough to support even heavy decorative elements.

When the season comes, 18 million Christmas trees are harvested and sold every year in Germany alone, which is not much less than the 24 million Christmas trees cut in the USA.

All of them were grown from seeds sourced in Georgia as propagation in Central Europe and Northern America is hindered by the presence of related conifers. Their pollen is compatible with Nordmann firs and cross-pollination would result in less ideal firs. So, every year, climbers have to reach the precious Nordmann fir cones and send the seeds to us so our tree nurseries can grow millions of Christmas trees.

This article is part of our Christmas Advent’s Calendar. To check it out, go here.



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