GROWERS and traders are confident demand for Christmas trees in Worcestershire will be met this year, despite claims of a shortage.

Reports in national media suggest that a drop in imported trees from Europe could lead to a 50,000 shortfall in the UK of luxury trees taller than 7ft and an increase in prices.

But in Worcestershire, growers and suppliers say shoppers will not have to go without their pine of choice this winter.

Chris Schofield, manager of St Peter’s Garden Centre in Norton, near Worcester, said the store buys its trees from a supplier in Scotland, which has enabled it to stock up and keep prices steady.

“It’s known within the trade there is a lack of larger Nordmann firs, but we have an established supplier in Scotland, so I’ve got all the trees I need this year,” he said.

“Prices have been driven up but we have held ours for the last three years and we are keeping our trees competitively priced.”

Nick Beard, who manages Leigh Sinton Christmas Tree Farm – which will sell about 6,000 trees this year – said wholesalers and retailers who had prepared for the busy Christmas period should not have problems with supplying larger specimens.

“Any figures that come out are always a bit of guess work, but nationally, it’s a slightly varying story from us,” he said.

“It’s all about where you are. We’re fortunate we have established growers in Worcestershire. Suppliers who have bought trees wholesale early enough are fine. But if you wanted to buy trees wholesale now, it’s the old adage of the early bird gets the worm.”

The British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association says Denmark and Norway will this year provide just a fifth the annual average of one million trees they usually supply to Britain.

Frost, an outbreak of fungi and the weak pound have all be blame.