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Wet weather helps give Kent's Christmas trees a boost

Christmas trees being grown (file picture)

Christmas trees are taller than usual this year (file picture)

by Dave Weston

One of the wettest years on record has helped give Kent families an unexpected Christmas bonus.

Garden centres are reporting a bumper year for festive firs grown in the county - several centimeters taller than usual.

The bonus of bigger trees has been put down to the washout soggy summer.

Among those enjoying a bigger-than-normal crop is Kingswood Christmas Trees in Kingswood, near Maidstone.

Farmer Rob Schroeder said: "They've put on a bit more height rather than width, but we can't complain really. We only complain if there's a lack of rain rather than too much.

"Obviously we're in a recession and I think everything will be affected by it.

"But we always say that Christmas is recession proof. We all have a tree and a turkey and a bottle of wine."

He said the farm, in Gravelly Bottom Road, feared its Christmas tree crop would be affected by a deadly fungus that causes the needles to turn brown and fall off.

But Mr Schroeder said: "The Growers Association technical expert has identified the fungus which is causing it and there is a fungicide that can be used to control it.

"I think that we've nipped it in the bud."

Meanwhile, Kent's vineyards were hard hit by this year's downpours - with one winery losing half its stock and another declaring no vintage at all.

Chapel Down wines, which produces world-renowned wines in Tenterden, saw the number of bottles it has produced fall by as much as half compared to an average year.

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