Sustainability at the heart of family-owned Christmas tree farm in Cork

While some trees are pre-cut, people also have the opportunity to cut down their own tree at Castletreasure.
Sustainability at the heart of family-owned Christmas tree farm in Cork

Patrick Lehane, 7 month-old Thomas and his dad Conor Lehane with Lord Mayor Cllr Colm Kelleher, amongst the Christmas trees. Picture: Larry Cummins

REDUCE, reuse, recycle is the name of the game at a Christmas tree farm in Cork encouraging people to opt for a real tree this festive season as a more environmentally friendly choice.

For Pat Lehane, the owner of Castletreasure Christmas Trees, a forestry, Christmas tree and foliage production enterprise growing and selling Christmas trees for over 25 years, the benefits of a real tree far exceed that of their artificial counterparts.

“The Christmas tree, when it’s cut down, there’s still a huge amount of carbon kept in the ground and we replant every year,” he told The Echo.

“There’s a constant store of carbon there whereas the plastic tree that comes in from China - that is actually putting a huge amount of carbon back into the atmosphere.

“I think it’s a shame that we have country towns and we have these huge plastic monstrosities in the middle of the town square. I think it’s sad really to see it

“None of us would like to get a plastic bouquet - whether you’re dying or whether you’re being born! I think we prefer to see the natural product.”

Real trees can also be repurposed in innovative ways after the Christmas period, he said.

“What I’ve seen some people doing which is really interesting - they plant the Christmas tree in the garden, dig a hole put the tree into it and they plant beans around it and the beans grow up through the tree so they use it like a trellis,” he said.

 Staff John O'Keeffe busy with a chainsaw. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Staff John O'Keeffe busy with a chainsaw. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Some unsold trees on the farm last Christmas were also used four months later at an equestrian event for decorative purposes around some of the jumps.

“It was on in April and the trees were still perfect,” Pat said.

Castletreasure is a fifth-generation family-run farm, bought by Pat’s grandfather in 1922. It’s all hands on deck during the busy trading period in the run up to Christmas with family members rowing in to help out.

“We have six kids. Two of them are abroad but there are four working at home and they all chip in at this time of the year and their cousins get involved as well.

“It’s a very nice family operation,” Pat said.

While some trees are pre-cut, people also have the opportunity to cut down their own tree at Castletreasure.

“Some people actually want to cut it themselves, we give them a hand saw and mammy tries it and daddy tries it - but most people like to have it cut for them.” 

Liam Coppinger is one of the staff members welcoming customers Castletreasure Christmas Trees at Castletreasure, Cork City. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Liam Coppinger is one of the staff members welcoming customers Castletreasure Christmas Trees at Castletreasure, Cork City. Picture: Larry Cummins.

One of the aspects of the job Pat enjoys the most is engaging with customers on his farm overlooking the city and he gets many returning customers.

“The response we’re getting from people is that the trees lasted very well for them last year," he said. “It’s down to the fact that the trees are grown at the farm, they’re sold from the farm so they don’t ever go into a pallet whereas some of the trees that are being brought in from up the country, they could be packed in and could be in a pallet for a week or two which isn’t good for the trees."

As for Pat’s top tip on how to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh?

“Don’t cook the tree! The hotter the room, the faster the tree will dry out obviously.” 

Castletreasure Christmas Tree Farm is open seven days a week from 12pm to 8pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 8pm on the weekends.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more