Hillier Trees is pleased to report signs of confidence and buoyancy in the market, with particular growth in demand for semi-mature trees, despite a backdrop of political uncertainty.
The overall demand for trees has been encouragingly high during the 2018-19 season to date. Interest in field-grown semi-mature and super semi-mature trees has been particularly strong; Hillier has experienced almost 200% year-on-year growth in sales of 4x transplanted trees and over 40% growth in 5x transplanted trees. In this same period, there has also been over 150% growth in container-grown trees ranging from 200 to 2500 litre pot size.
These figures are extremely heartening and suggest a confident market, with no signs of Brexit concerns slowing down or delaying major projects. Growth has been particularly strong too among both the Landscape Contractor and Local Authority markets, with a number of key Hillier customers involved in exciting infrastructure and greening cities projects across the UK.
Hillier has also noted an increase in customers specifying British-grown trees for projects, which appears to be driven by biosecurity concerns. “We are the only UK tree nursery growing field-grown semi-mature trees,” comments Adam Dunnett, Amenity Sales Director at Hillier. “This is very significant for the growing number of our customers requiring British grown. Some of our trees have been growing in our Hampshire fields for over 20 years – what fantastic provenance!
“We have seen an increase in the number of customers wishing to visit the nursery, view and tag their trees. They want to see the trees, their quality and reassure themselves that these are genuine British-grown trees. Gone are the days when you can grow a shop window of trees and then import the majority (particularly semi-mature) The ‘buy British’ message seems to have hit home.
“With the massive investment it takes to grow high-quality, long-term crops such as semi-mature trees, it is pleasing to see that buyers are putting a greater emphasis on quality and provenance and a little less on price, although value is clearly still important.”
With orders being placed not only for this season, but also for 2020 and even the 2021 season, there are optimistic signs that market confidence will continue.