The sale of real Irish Christmas trees has soared throughout the latest Covid-19 lockdown compared to the same period last year.

That's according to the Irish Christmas Tree Growers, the all-Ireland organisation of Christmas tree farmers who are preparing for their busiest period of the year with the 2020 harvest well underway.

The Chair of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers, Martin Kelleher said the increased demand demonstrated an appetite amongst Irish people to start the 2020 Christmas festivities earlier.

"Our members are reporting that the number of trees sold and ordered for collection or delivery to date has increased well over 50 per cent, the vast majority of which are coming through online orders.

"The latest Covid-19 restrictions have forced us all to change the way we live and work. It has driven some of our customers online to pre-order their real Christmas tree, in numbers that we could never have anticipated.

"In 2019, on my own farm, our on-line sales did not really start until the end of November.

"In 2020, we saw orders starting to come in towards the end of October. It’s still almost two weeks until December and this extradentary trend being reflected by our members across the country," he said.

Mr Kelleher said that Ireland’s maritime climate provides the ideal conditions for growing quality Christmas trees.

 "Sustainability is the cornerstone of what we do as Christmas tree growers. Each year, after a crop of Christmas trees is harvested, a new crop is planted to replace it. It takes up to nine years to grow a two-metre Christmas tree," he said.