Professional Tools for Growers and Gardeners

Niwaki range

We get lots of customers and fellow Christmas Tree growers contacting us to talk about how best to look after their Christmas Trees. This inevitably includes a conversation about pruning to enhance and maintain a great shape to your trees.

The next question is usually what secateurs do you use? So with that in mind and considering that queuing to get into shops and garden centres is not always a viable option, we are making our favourite everyday tools available for you to collect from the farm or for delivery.

To view our favourite range of hand tools, click here and take a look what we have to offer

Covid 19 and us – the impact on farmers and growers

This current situation which we all find ourselves has presented all of us with unprecedented challenges. As farmers and growers, classed as keyworkers, our work life has carried on pretty much as normal. In fact the major challenges we have faced in the last few months have been from the weather more than the virus.

The wettest autumn and winter in our lifetimes meant that across the UK planting of winter crop varieties was down substantially, in some areas, less than 50% of wheat was able to be planted, compared to a normal year.

Ok, so no need to panic, our nation’s farmers will plant spring crop varieties of wheat and barley to make up for the lack of winter varieties. That is exactly what many farmers did. Unfortunately, what followed was two months with virtually no rain and to really hammer home the problem, there was a severe late frost in May. Have you seen the film ‘A Perfect Storm’………?

Frost damage to winter wheat, which we were lucky enough to plant before the rain!

So currently there is a real threat to our nation’s food production as a result of the weather. Throw into that the Covid 19 challenges and stress really starts to mount. Most farmers are at the older end of the spectrum, many are isolated both geographically and by an industry where people work alone, the PPE needed to do certain jobs is suddenly unobtainable and the chance to meet fellow growers for a catch up, or even just being able to call in for a coffee has gone. Still working long hours to keep animals fed (they don’t stop eating) and trying to rescue struggling crops, this has definitely been one of the most challenging years we have ever faced.

However, we have open fields and fresh air in abundance and we have mostly welcomed you to walk around the edges of our fields so you too can exercise and benefit from contact with nature whilst struggling with your own lockdown challenges. All we hope is that you don’t damage the crop, you don’t drop litter and you please take your dog poo home with you. So far, you have all been respectful and we thank you for that.

We are working hard to make sure next year’s food is available and we are planning ways to make your Christmas easy and special. We all need something to look forward to at the end of this! Keep going folks…….and take care all of you.

STOP PRESS!!! Award Winning Christmas Trees 2017

Christmas Tree

On 17 October we attended the British Christmas Tree Growers Association annual competition day, which this year was held in Wakefield.

This is an event which draws Christmas Tree growers from across the entire UK in an attempt to win one of the coveted awards for ‘Best Grower’

We are very proud to announce that we were successful and won the award for the ‘Best Norway Spruce Grower 2017’ with this beautiful tree.  A great representation of the variety and how it should look.

Since our first plantings of Christmas Trees 15 years ago, Andrew has always had a passion for growing beautiful trees.  He has worked toward improving growing techniques to ensure that the trees are the best they can be for our customers.  Within this time, he has developed a particular affinity for the Norway Spruce variety.

Norway Spruce is the traditional variety of Christmas Tree which the older generations will all recall from their childhood.  The variety lost popularity with the introduction of the European variety Nordman Fir which could hold its needles much longer.  Despite this, the Norway Spruce is still an excellent choice for an outdoor tree or a tree to be taken indoors a few days before Christmas.  The aroma is the classic Christmas Tree scent and the trees are truly lovely when decorated up.  They are also an excellent cost effect option.

The increased diversity of the population in the UK has seen the Norway Spruce find new fans particularly with the Eastern European Communities who traditionally take their trees in just before Christmas and we too have had them as our tree of choice at home for the last two years.  We love them.

Order your Norway Spruce here

Its time to get your Christmas Tree for 2016

Norway Spruce Christmas Trees

So its a while since we wrote any posts on here, to be honest its been really hectic since summer.  First with the cereal harvest and planting the new seeds for next year’s harvest, then moving straight into Christmas tree mode back in September.

We’ve made lots of updates to the retail site, new fencing of the extended reindeer area, the addition of ‘Santa’s Secret Cabin’ and the new arrivals, three American Heritage Turkeys, as yet un-named, but we are working on that!!

The Christmas trees have kept us really busy, growing and pruning, tagging and now harvesting, with lots of Christmas trees already being delivered to our wholesale and corporate clients.  However, now we shift into retail mode!!  we are set up and ready to go, so we look forward to seeing you all, or delivering your Christmas tree (if you ordered online), in the coming weeks.

Still Open All Hours at Christmas

Norway Spruce Christmas Tree

This week has been a week of extremes.  The mornings have been very foggy and damp, yet the afternoons have been gloriously sunny and warm.  The kind of afternoons we could have used more of during August when we were struggling to get the combine going to harvest the cereal crops.

So it seems that we are having an ‘Indian Summer’ and along side the second cut of grass we are taking to make winter fodder for the cattle, we are busy drilling next year’s cereals and shifting our focus onto selling Christmas Trees.

We have already spoken with most of our wholesale customers about t

Making haylage for the cattle in winter.

Making haylage for the cattle in winter.

he coming festive season and large Christmas Trees are also selling fast as local councils and larger institutions start planning for Christmas, but they are not the only ones.

This week we have cut Christmas trees for two customers for reasons that could not be further apart.  The first trees, some large spruce at 12ft have gone to the BBC comedy show ‘Still Open All Hours’ which is filmed on location in Doncaster – not far from us.  However we will also be cutting more trees for them to take down to London in the coming weeks for further filming for the Christmas Special.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have cut a number of 5ft trees for a customer of our that uses them to build 3 day event courses for horse jumping.  As I said, a week of extremes.

What has your week been like I wonder? Have you started to think about Christmas and Christmas Trees, Christmas presents, who’s cooking Christmas lunch, or are you fighting the inevitable and basking in the last, lingering days of autumn sunshine? Given the choice, I’d be tempted to do the latter 🙂

And the Baby Reindeer’s name is…………….


Yes after many great suggestions,  some traditional, some Christmassy some diverse, and some Disney inspired, the winning name was ‘Olaf’ after the snowman in Disney’s Frozen – so I believe.  Yes Andrew and Me must be the only people on the planet who have not actually seen the movie yet although we have it on DVD and the kids have watched it multiple times!  I think it might be time to try and rectify the situation as I anticipate hundreds of ‘Frozen’ references over the coming festive season.  I suspect that had our new arrival not been white and more traditional looking for a reindeer, the winning name may have been Sven – or so I’m told.


Anyway, I am pleased to confirm that Olaf the reindeer is looking gorgeous and he cant wait to meet his adoring public over the next few weeks.  Although, he has some competition as Comet has some mighty fine antlers this year which always astound me with how beautiful they are.  And hopefully they will have kept most of there ‘velvet’ – the soft furry skin which covers them like velvet – up until Christmas.  This usually gets removed during the rutting season when the male reindeer is happy to fight anything going, including old trees! However, Comet has not been rutting this year and the beautiful velvet is still very much in tact.


And so it begins………….

So while most people were carving pumpkins and putting on scary masks – at least we hope they were masks! – Andrew was busy cutting trees for our first true Christmas clients.

Two local councils received their trees on Thursday and Friday of last week and today a huge load was safely delivered to Chatsworth House for their annual festivities.  This year their theme is Alice in Wonderland and it does sound amazing.

Large trees, from 12 to 20ft are selling thick and fast and we are practically sold out.  The work really goes up a gear now as a none stop campaign begins to ensure businesses, schools, sports clubs, hotels and members of the public will all have their special tree.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Oh Dear! A Deer with no Name…….

Baby reindeerI mentioned recently that we were getting a new arrival at Billingley Christmas Tree Farm in the shape of a new Reindeer.  Only this reindeer is a bit special as he is almost pure white and he was only born this Spring.  He currently has no name and after much discussion in our household and many suggestions from our children – most of which seem to revolve around characters from Frozen! – we have decided to ask for you help in finding the perfect name for this handsome little guy.

Please post your suggestions and like and share our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.  The winning entry will not only have the privilege of naming the Reindeer, but will also win a free tree (up to 6ft) for this coming season.

So remember, feel free to send us your name suggestions any way you like, but if you want the chance to win a tree, you must ‘like’ and ‘share’ our Facebook post ( and or follow us on Twitter @TCTF

Cones or no cones? That is the question.

During our recent visit to check on the Korean Firs, it was noticeable that some of the tree had a number of cones on them.  The cones are, in my opinion, a lovely surprise and a beautiful blue colour.  However, the normal process for Christmas Trees when they develop cones, is to ‘rub’ them off.  It is deemed that cones are not a welcome addition to Christmas Trees, and in fairness, I’m not sure how well they would cope with the tree being netted, but here at Billingley Christmas Trees, we are curious to know what you, the customers, think.

Take a look at the photos and let us now whether its a thumbs up or a thumbs down for cones on trees.  Ask all your friends to take a look and give us their opinion, we’d love to know what you think.  We may even try keeping a few this year……!

BCTGA open day at Tayside Forestry

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association actively invites growers to come together on several occasions throughout the year to share knowledge and ideas regarding growing and marketing Christmas Trees.  This directly benefits you, our customers, as in ensures we are using best practices and constantly looking to improve either the varieties we offer and the quality of the trees giving consideration to what the tree will ultimately cost the consumer.

On Wednesday last week, the late summer open day was held at Tayside Forestry.  It was a great day and a chance for growers to catch up.  We looked at several plantations of trees, both Nordman and Fraser Firs.  It was particularly interesting to see an entire plantation of thousands of Fraser Firs all at around 6ft in height.  This plantation will have taken years to grow with considerable cost to the grower.  A soil based disease which is impossible to predict, is doing its best to wipe out the entire plantation before the grower has chance to harvest them.

As our customers, I think it is interesting to know what is involved in producing your beautiful trees, and you should be aware that things are not as easy as they may appear.  It never ceases to maze me how many customers say “you only work 6 weeks of the year” – if only……..

However, rest assured, there are lots of lovely trees for the coming season and we look forward to supplying you.