Christmas tree shoppers will have a new option this year: a species of pine being cultivated especially for the Yuletide season by farmers in the state of Tlaxcala, and one that can be replanted later.
For eight years farmers in Ixtacuixtla have been growing pino piñero, or Mexican pinyon (Pinus cembroides), and now they are finally ready to harvest the variety and introduce it to the Christmas tree market.
The pinyon trees offer a new opportunity to farmers whose land lost its fertility, resulting in lower yields of corn and other crops.
Grower Emilio Ramírez Escalona contacted representatives of the National Forestry Commission (Conafor) in 2009 and began a collaboration that resulted in this year’s first batch of trees: 1,000 pines that have reached 1.5 metres in height.
“This tree species, despite its slow growth, has the advantage that it’ll last for a long time. It will remain green for the whole time and after it is used as a Christmas tree . . . it can be an ornamental plant,” said Ramírez.
Consumers, he explained, can plant the tree afterward, which will help popularize the species and benefit the environment.
Until last year, the only pine tree species grown by Tlaxcala farmers for the Christmas market was the ayacahuite pine (Pinus ayacahuite).
A total of 256 hectares are dedicated to growing 7,250 of those trees, which reach heights of 1.5 to three meters.
Conafor has awarded Tlaxcala pine tree producers a quality certification for the care and work they invest year round on their plantations.
“Their products are well received by consumers during the holiday season,” said Elizabeth Munive Martínez of Conafor Tlaxcala.