The public is being urged to buy real Christmas trees this year, as the forestry department on Monday launched a campaign to sell potted pines as a more ecological method of decorating homes.

At a nursery of the forestry department in Athalassa, Nicosia on Monday, several trees were displayed, and the public was informed that wild pine trees up to one and a half metres high would be sold for €6, while black pine trees up to 2 metres would be sold for €14.

The ceremony was attended by Environment Commissioner Maria Panayiotou and forestry department representatives.

Forestry Department spokesman George Constantinou said that the points of sale of potted trees are located in Athalassa, Nicosia, Dhekelia, Fassouri, Polemidia, Kato Paphos, Platania, and Panayia, Paphos. The public can come to collect Christmas trees from Monday to Friday, from 8.00 am to 2.30 pm.

The Nicosia forestry department representative Loizos Constantinou gave some instructions on the care of the trees. He said the tree should be placed in an area where it does not get excessive sunshine or shade.

“This position must be stable and only change during the period when we decorate the tree, because the tree cannot easily adapt to these changes,” he explained.

When bringing the tree in the house for decoration, it should not be close to a heat source as this will dry out the soil.

The tree must be fertilised once a year, with a water-soluble mixture.

He also emphasised that people should monitor the foliage of the plant regularly.

“If we notice an attack by a pathogenic organism, whether an insect or a fungus, then we should contact a specialist, who will give us advice on the application of a formula so that we can fight this attack and keep the tree in good condition,” he said.

Afterwards, Constantinou said that if the tree has been in a pot for some time, it can be taken out every two to three years for root pruning, because the roots get wrapped up in the pot.

By it fifth or tenth year the tree will most likely need replanting in an outside space in the garden.