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Real Christmas trees: locally grown give most satisfaction

Hanbidge on Horticulture: Live Christmas tree market plagued by many factors, shortages result
xmas tree hanbidge
Leo Mareschal displays trees grown at the Gaudet Tree Farm near Prince Albert.

There is something extra special about having a real Christmas tree in your home for the holiday season. Like everything else that we use and consume, buying local is always the best choice. Freshly harvested trees do not shed needles. They emit a lovely scent that permeates the entire house. When purchasing a tree, my favourite choice is to buy a tree grown by Gaudet Tree Farm

For more than 30 years, Master Gardener Leo Mareschal partnered with Ray Gaudet to provide quality Christmas trees to grace homes during the holiday season. Their lot was located behind the Mayfair Hardware store. These special partnerships are not commonly seen today, as we live in a world where the big keep getting bigger and smaller, family run businesses are becoming less and less prevalent. This special partnership between Leo and Ray reflected a growing industry and energetic younger people who worked tirelessly to grow their business, being real people with families who cared about the environment and making the world a better place. However, over the years, small-scale tree production has faltered.

There is a shortage of Christmas trees available and it has nothing really to do with coronavirus. Labour shortages and environmental issues like drought and unseasonably late frosts have impacted this industry irrevocably. The major recession in the United States a number of years ago also resulted in creditors and U.S. banks cutting off funding to nurseries and Christmas tree growers. Due to all of these factors, these smaller, family businesses lost their capacity to keep going and now we are beginning to see the long-term results.

As it takes years of care to grow a marketable Christmas tree the inevitable result is a shortage of the product.

It is so unfortunate that, as a small business owner/operator today, the toll of being everything from the grower to the harvester, the trucker, the office manager, the marketer and everything else that is necessary including always facing a steeper slope to climb, eventually gets tired and needs to cut back to have any quality of life. Unfortunately, when you are everything required to run a business, when you cut back you have to cut back significantly, which means the business cannot continue in many cases.

In Prince Albert you can find Gaudet Christmas trees at the Lake Country Co-op and in Saskatoon at the Saskatoon Landscape Store on Thatcher Avenue across from the north end Costco. Other vendors throughout the province also sell these trees and the Saskatoon Landscape Store is now a vendor for Gaudet Trees in Saskatoon. The staff and owners at the Saskatoon Landscape Store are excited and thankful to be part of the supply chain for Gaudet Christmas trees in Saskatoon but do be aware that there will not be as many trees available as in past years when the tree lot was behind Mayfair Hardware.

When selecting your tree, it is important to give a fresh two centimetres cut off the base of the tree and ensure that while in the stand it is constantly covered with fresh water. No other additives other than water are required to keep your tree nice and fresh. For the first fill of water, ensure it is hot to ensure the sap is warmed sufficiently to allow that water to flow up and throughout the tree. Also, as long as the tree is kept in water it is not a fire hazard and can last a long time before becoming dry. When it does become time to move the tree out, I like to use it as a lovely bird feeder/house for our fine-feathered friends for the remainder of the winter. In spring, it is chipped and becomes garden mulch.

Support local, support real and enjoy all the benefits of having a real Christmas tree this holiday season.

Hanbidge is the lead horticulturist with Orchid Horticulture. Find us at; by email at; on facebook @orchidhort and on instagram at #orchidhort.

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