BRITAIN’S unusually mild autumn is threatening to devastate this year’s crop of Christmas trees.
Growers are praying for a cold snap to toughen up the trees in time for the festive season.
But according to forecasters there is no sign of a vital cold snap in the near future.
Jonathan Powell, from Positive Weather Solutions, said the rest of November would be mild with the first taste of winter not likely to be felt before December.
He said: “We are not going to get a very cold spell very soon, and most of Europe is milder than average.”
Experts say a harsh frost is needed to force the traditional Norway Spruce into a dormant state so they will last through the Christmas holidays – unseasonably mild weather could prompt them to shed their needles too soon.
Roger Hay, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, said: “A frost is needed to put the trees into dormancy which means they will last longer.”
Although growers ideally need two or three good frosts some, like Norfolk farmer Vince Thurkettle, are already having to harvest their trees.
Russell Parkins, who owns a farm, near Ware, Herts, said: “I’ve noticed a frost also makes my trees a better colour green. A few frosts will certainly give growers peace of mind.”
This year has also seen a shortage of the popular Nordman firs which have been the UK’s best seller for a decade.
Because of a shortfall from Europe, most of the British trees were cut down last year, leaving very few to grow over six-feet.
Mr Hay added: “It will be tough to buy Nordman firs over six-feet as so many were cut last year to fuel demand.
O dear I won’t have to have the hassle of getting an 8 foot tree into the living room and getting it to stand up! Say’s Steve from Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire