Natural Resources Canada scientist working to keep Christmas trees in tip-top shape
A scientist with Natural Resources Canada has been working year-round to make sure the Maritimes’ multi-million dollar Christmas tree industry continues to prosper.
Rob Johns says much of his research is used to inform tree growers of what insects or diseases could be lurking.
"They want to know which ones to look out for, because the next step for them is planning on how do we monitor and how do we actually manage this if it comes into my stand?” said Johns.
This year there was some worry over one nasty pest in particular.
"The biggest conversation in New Brunswick is around spruce budworm,” said Johns. “So (tree growers) wondering about are these going to defoliate our Christmas trees?"
Tree grower Louis-Phillippe Albert says the pest is something’s he’s be closely monitoring.
"We've had it 10 or 12 years ago or so,” he said. “It was pretty bad."
Domestic and export sales of Christmas trees across Canada amounted to almost $80 million last year. The industry is worth $15 million in New Brunswick, so it pays for those trees to be healthy.
Albert says even though there’s still half of the season left, it’s so far been a good year.
“Good growth and very little maintenance except the regular stuff,” he said. “You need to fertilize and you need to mow and these kinds of things."
Albert says even though it’s a heavy workload to keep the trees health, it’s all worth it.
“It's Christmas, so keep it real,” he said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.