Danish-produced firs currently enjoy a one-third share of the European Christmas tree market, with exports to currently estimated to be worth 1.5 million kroner (€200,000).
As such, shorter growth times for trees would provide a welcome Christmas present for Danish industry, said the Ministry for Food and The Environment in a statement, as it announced its support for a new green development research project.
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The initiative, carried out by researchers at the University of Copenhagen along with industry partners, is investigating the use of hormone-producing microorganisms to stimulate growth of the Nordmann Fir.
The ministry has pledged ten million kroner to the project.
“A successful formula for faster-growing trees will not only give us prettier Christmas trees in our front rooms. It will also give a marked competitive advantage to Danish producers, while making production itself more environmentally friendly, since producers will use lower quantities of fertilizers and pesticides,” Food and Environment Minister Eva Kjer Hansen is quoted as saying in the ministry statement.
The ministry is supporting the research through the commercial support scheme Green Development and Demonstration Program (GDUP).
Other GDUP projects include making Christmas trees greener by planting cloves between them at the growing stage, thereby reducing the need for fertilizers.
“Denmark is a leading nation in the production of Christmas trees and other decorative plants,” said Hansen. Competition is tough, so innovation is essential in the business. That's why we support the development of new technology that can promote growth while giving us a greener Christmas.”