Tomorrow is…Christmas Tree Day

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Did you know that Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) scientists provide research that keeps the country’s Christmas tree industry healthy and bug-free?

Christmas trees, such as pines, Douglas-firs, true firs and spruces, are susceptible to diseases and pests. That’s where NRCan’ forestry scientists come in: they’re experts in the fungi and insect populations that feed on Canada’s forests, including the trees grown on the country’s 2,400 Christmas trees farms.

NRCan scientists regularly carry out lab and field research into pests — such as the gypsy moth, balsam fir sawfly and pine shoot beetle — that can harm Christmas trees. They devise sampling tools to detect pests early and are exploring the use of citizen science to connect Christmas tree growers to help them better manage insects. NRCan insect ecologists also develop tools to detect and treat pests early to ensure that Canada’s forests and exports stay healthy.

And this science helps the industry stay profitable: the domestic and export sales of Christmas trees generated $78.4 million in 2015, representing a true Canadian success story.

This specialized industry is an important one for many communities across Canada. With the support of the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association, Christmas Tree Day was established in 2012 to celebrate the environmental benefits of Christmas tree farms and the joy the trees bring during the holiday season. Christmas Tree Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of December, which this year falls on December 3.