TREE-MEN­DOUS TIME OF YEAR ON THE FARM

Grow­ing Christ­mas trees is not just a fes­tive job for Rob

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - KATIE BEL­LIS Re­porter katie.bel­lis@waleson­line.co.uk

THE count­down to Christ­mas has be­gun. And, if you haven’t al­ready done so, many of you will likely be putting up your trees this week­end.

But have you ever won­dered what it’s like on a Christ­mas tree farm?

This farm is one of the largest Christ­mas tree grow­ers in Wales, sell­ing 15,000 a year.

Rob Mor­gan is the owner of Gower Fresh Christ­mas Trees in Three Crosses. He planted his first tree in 1997 and now the farm has half a mil­lion trees.

As well as trees, there’s also a Santa’s grotto with elves, rein­deers and a Santa.

“A lot of peo­ple think that we do noth­ing in the year and that the trees just grow nat­u­rally – but all year we are very busy.

“I have four full-time staff. The main jobs are keep­ing the weeds and bugs down and prun­ing the trees,” Mr Mor­gan said.

“The key to pro­duc­ing a qual­ity tree is putting a lot of time and ef­fort into shap­ing them. I work all year in the farm. I’m in the trees every week look­ing for bugs and I’m with the rein­deers every day.

“I’m also do­ing leaf and soil anal­y­sis. We are out in all weath­ers.

“In Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary we plant around 40,000 trees.

“It’s a race against the sea­son. In the sum­mer we will la­bel the trees ready for win­ter and we have got the grotto to put to­gether.

“I im­port my seeds from Canada – that goes to a plant nurs­ery for four years, then the plant goes into the ground for eight years. So from seed to sale you are look­ing at 12 years.

“It takes eight years for a 7ft tree to grow. Peo­ple think they turn up and we plant a tree and next year it is 8ft but sadly that’s not how it works.

“When I planted my first tree I didn’t think that any­thing would ever hap­pen but now I’m sur­rounded by half a mil-

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