Prague has the most expensive Christmas trees

But dozens for people each year seek alternatives including illegally cutting one down

Prague has some of the most expensive Christmas trees in the country, and local producers increasingly face competition from imports. There are also some alternatives to buying trees. Legal options include getting a tree that can be replanted. Illegal options are cutting down a tree in a park, which some people do.

At the beginning of December, vendors started selling Caucasian fir, pine or spruce trees for Christmas at street locations such as local squares and in front of shopping malls. Prague residents prefer fir trees, which last a long time.

Prague is one of the most expensive places to get trees in the country, though there was a wide range of price variation even in the city. In a standard size of between 150 and 200 cm, fir trees are about Kč 900 or more. A pine is cheapest, about Kč 400. Spruce is about Kč 600.

There is a growing presence of foreign imports of trees, and these are found in particular near large shopping centers. Most of these come from Denmark and Poland.

Prices for trees in Prague are affected by how much rent someone has to pay for the sales location. The owner of the space often makes more than the vendor, František Valdman, deputy chairman of the Association of Christmas Tree Growers (SPVS), told daily Pražský deník.

Prices haven’t gone up in recent years but may increase in the future due to electronic registration of sales (EET). Valdman pointed out that there was still an issue as to whether the electronic registers would work in the cold weather. This year, vendors of fresh carp were exempted from EET requirements since the registers would be difficult to use with gloves on and would likely break down due to the water from the fish tanks.

Some Prague people resort to illegal means to get Christmas trees by cutting them down in municipal forests. The city doesn’t plant spruces, but the parks and forests have a natural mix of conifer trees, municipal tree management company Lesy hlavního města Prahy (LHMP) spokeswoman Petra Fišerová said.

The estimated theft is in the dozens of fir and pine trees each year. People can collect fallen branches in the woods for personal use. But a collection of larger quantities for commercial purposes require an agreement with the forest owner or operator.

Alternative types of tree purchases, such as rental or adoptions, are increasingly popular in Prague. Lesy hlavního města Prahy lets people buy a fir tree in a flower pot and in the spring it can be planted in a joint action in Kunratický les. The event was successful, and approximately 250 trees were sold out within a few days.

“They are not standard Christmas trees grown just for the Christmas season, but trees normally grown for planting in the countryside. They should eventually successfully manage a move to a garden or the forest,” Fišerová said.

The Toulcův dvůr Center for Ecological Education in Hostivař let people adopt trees for Kč 100, but the offer sold out very quickly.

The city also designates places to dispose of trees after the holiday season so they can be collected and turned to mulch. These sites are often near bins for recycling.

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