Great growing conditions in southern New South Wales..

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    This is what CO2 and some rain can do... !!

    Monday February 2, 2015

    For one farmer in southern New South Wales the exceptional conditions has him thinking that Christmas is coming early.

    Ziggy Kominek would normally be taking it relatively easy on his 80 hectares on the outskirts of Gundaroo, just north of Canberra.

    Normally he has a hectic finish to the year, harvesting and selling his Monterey Pines which are sought after Christmas trees, and then can take a break.

    That is not the case this year.

    Since the festive season, rain in the region has led to accelerated growth, forcing him to carry out work on his trees which he would normally be doing around mid-year.

    "We've had to move everything forward, even the shaping now because they are getting out of control," Mr Kominek said.

    "All the energy is going in the wrong direction.

    "So we have to work around the clock to get them into shape. If we have a good autumn, we'll be doing three prunings instead of two."

    This would mean repeating the pruning around June and again in October.

    Normally work at this time of the year would consist of mainly slashing around the trees and then ripping the normally hard dry soil preparing it for planting.

    The other task would be selecting the 'handles' which usually consist of two separate growths coming from the trunk near the tree's base.

    One is cut off, allowing the other to prosper and form the basis of the Christmas tree.

    "With such good conditions the trees are racing for the sky and instead of forming branches, they are growing leaders," he said.

    "They are developing into really fine shaped trees and then all of a sudden we have around a metre going into the air with no branches around it."

    The rapid growth could also have an effect on the supply of trees down the track.

    It is usually at least three and a half years before a tree is ready for sale.

    However the good conditions has resulted in some trees, which are around 12 months younger, rivalling the older ones in size.

    The early cutting of the pines may also mean the trees will end up slightly taller than the preferred two metres.

    Although Mr Kominek said this should not be too much of a problem as there is always a demand for large trees.

    There is also the demand for his trees mid-year, as those who celebrate Christmas in July could not countenance it without a traditional tree.
    Last edited by birdman29: 03/02/15
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