The experts in growing Christmas are the Danish growers as Denmark was the largest exporter of trees until a few years ago when the Danish government removed various concessions from the farmer for growing trees (This was the reason for the shortage over the last few years and the consequent increase in prices across Europe). These expert Danish growers then moved across to Scotland which offers the perfect climate. Most of Trinity St's Nordman Fir are grown in Scotland by probably the best grower in the UK.
So this is what happens …
The Nordman Fir trees are purchased and planted at about 6 inches tall and about 3 years old. It takes at least another 7 years to reach a good 6-7 ft. tall.
During this time they have to be kept clear of weeds which require mowing, weed control etc.
As they get to approximately 5 years old they are annually pruned to start to create that perfect shape, plus some trees start to shoot upwards and their leader becomes too long. Various techniques are then applied to control leader growth.
At a certain time of the year, there can be a need to control aphids which can kill trees if left unchecked.
Basal pruning also takes place at the bottom of the tree.
In some cases birds cause a lot of damage to the leaders by landing on the tips and snapping the leader off, when this occurs the tree is worth less despite being up to 10 years in the making. As a result specialist pegs are used to act as alternative perches for the birds to land on to avoid this issue.
Finally the trees are ready for harvesting but they are actually taken out over a period of about 3 years, being mindful of allowing specific trees more room to grow for the next year.
When the trees are cut they must not be moved for 24 hours, they are then netted and palletised with special machinery in the field before being transported overnight down to the Trinity St. storage yard.
Even after all of this effort, only the top 10% will be premium grade (Trinity St's main product), the lowest grade products with abnormalities end up being sent to DIY chains at low prices.