The evening commenced with the presentation of the awards from the Summer Show. There was a very good attendance with only 3 apologies. This was followed by the AGM in which our president Mr John Thomsom, thanked everybody for their help over the year particularly with the shows, he also thanked the committee for their input over the year and as there have been some resignations he stressed how important it was to fill the vacancies. John Davis, our chairman then gave a resume of the years events reminded by the members of the Open Gardens and annual outing to Kings Seeds and Green Island Gardens. He also emphasized the necessity of filling the vacancies on the committee, as without a committee there can be no club. Our secretary then gave the treasurers report as the treasurer was absent, and present members willing to stand again were voted on.
Then followed a very interesting talk by Trevor Oram owner of Wrentham Christmas Trees. He gave a brief history saying that the selling of Christmas trees from his farm goes back 55 years and it was dig your own but after so many broken spades this practice stopped. There was a 3 year break because the price of fuel went up to £1 a gallon and it was thought people would not use their cars! Four different varieties are grown today, Norway Spruce, Nordmann Fir, Serbian Fir and Blue Spruce. Nordmann Fir Trees are imported from Georgia where they are grown from seed and all imperfections are removed, and the little trees are undercut to avoid a long tap root. They stay in refrigeration before export and are planted here in September.
Other trees are planted January and February, 5,500 trees on site. They are planted in a staggered fashion to avoid them touching each other and can take 9 years to reach maturity. Each tree has to be pruned to shape, and Aphids are a big problem which requires spraying as they spread viruses. They also require fertilizer NPK and Sulphur which enables the tree to take up nutrients from the soil. All the work is done by hand including the tree planting, this in order to ensure the roots are straight when planted. It was found that by tying a ribbon to trees attracted birds who would eat the Aphids, clover is also planted between the rows which attracts the bees.
A good piece of information when buying a tree, tap it on the ground to see if any needles fall off, if they do this indicates that the tree as been dug up for some time. Also when removing the tree from the house when it has finished. wrap it in a dust sheet thus preventing needles all over the house.
Thanks to a young recruit with modern ideas Wrentham Christmas trees now have a Facebook page and a Website and have diversified into growing Pumpkins as well as Trees, which proved to be very successful. Trevor said he likes to make buying of the Christmas Tree an enjoyable experience as it is the first thing we do for Christmas.
Such an enjoyable talk and so much more to the growing of Christmas Trees then we would have believed.