Natural beauty always pleasing to the eyes
By Vladimir Yakovlev
Belarusian forestry workers are welcoming a pre-New Year parade of spiky beauties, meticulously assessing their form and grading them for height and volume. The most beautiful will be sent to fir tree markets in Belarusian and Russian cities. Last year, local forestries supplied 1,500 fir trees to Moscow and St. Petersburg while, this December, they plan to increase exports ten-fold.
“The first merchants arrive even before the snow falls to examine our plantations,” notes Sergey Durko, chief forester of Smorgon’s experimental forestry, describing the subtle details of pre-New Year trade. “They’re primarily interested in trees which are 1.5-2m high. To reach such a size, they need to grow for 7-10 years. Fir trees cut during coppicing and those near power lines are also sold. Young pines are quite popular and, for those eager to keep their tree longer, we offer blue spruces in pots and tubs. We have a special greenhouse and a nursery garden for growing them. In spring, you can plant your fir tree near your porch or summer cottage.”
Before their long trip, trees’ brittle branches are removed, and they are tied up, making them more compact and less liable to damage. From the forestry, prices are very reasonable, rising to around 300 Russian Roubles in Moscow or St. Petersburg. A spruce in a pot can even fetch 3,000 Roubles. Belarusian sales of coniferous tree seeds and saplings to Russia have also sharply increased, replacing woods damaged by fire.
According to Mr. Durko, Belarusian forests have plenty of spare capacity. He explains, “We cut around 500 New Year fir trees from each hectare, while annually planting 500-600 hectares of forest. We can certainly meet almost any order, ensuring enough New Year beauties for local residents too.”