n Arboleda González, in El Alto de la Trinidad, Moravia, there are 2,500 cypresses. Some measure up to four meters, as shown by Helberth Gonzalez. For the larger gauges there are promotions. | DIANA MÉNDEZ
The Arboleda González, in El Alto de la Trinidad, Moravia, has more 2,500 cypress trees for sale for this Christmas season. Some stand up to four metres tall, as shown by Helberth Gonzalez.  Photo Diana Mendez, La Nacion

Q COSTA RICA – How much would you pay for a Christmas tree? Not one of those that comes out of a box and need a manual to put together, but a real smelling, prickly pine tree?

In Costa Rica, a cypress (ciprés in Spanish) can run you up to ¢150,000 colones, that is about US$270 dollars at the current exchange rate, For that you get a five metre (16 feet) or more tall, grow and cared for more than three years on an estate, with an intense green, strong aroma and well-shaped.

Generally, you will find such trees only in shopping centres, headquarters of big companies and organizations, explains Monica Elizondo, from the El Portal estate in Salitrillos de Aserri.

Elizondo told La Nacion that the most sought-after cypress for families are the smaller versions, from 1.2 to 1.7 metres (4 to 6 feet) in height, that come in a price range of between ¢6,000 and ¢20,000 colones (US$11 and US$36).

Farmers such Guillermo Ortiz Rojas, from Corrarillo, Cartago, told La Nacion that many will be leaving the business, for no longer being profitable business. Ortiz has more than a decade in the Christmas tree market.

However, up to only four years ago, growing Christmas trees in Costa Rica was a profitable venture. A 2012 study by the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR) concluded the profitability by the reforestation activity. However, that is not the case any longer.

Killing the real Christmas tree industry is that prices have remained constant over the last 11 years.

For example, a Christmas tree in 2005 ranged from ¢3,000 to ¢25,000 colones; in 2009 the prices ranged between ¢8,000 and ¢12,000; and in 2010 from ¢8,000 to ¢20,000.

But, when you factor in the exchange rate of ¢492 for one US dollar in November 2005; ¢525 in November 2008; and ¢501 in November 2010 (according to the Central Bank) and the rise in the cost of living (an expenses) in Costa Rica, you do to the math.

Cypress in Costa Rica has adapted well in areas were temperatures range between 12 and 24 degrees Celsius, with rainfall between 1,000 and 3,500 millilitres per year

The cypress tree grows well in areas such as San Antonio and San Josecito, in Alajuelita, and in Aserrí (districts of Salitrillos, Tarbaca and Vuelta de Jorco). Also, in San Cristóbal de Desamparados, Corralillo in Cartago, Sabanilla de Acosta and Mata and Platano de Goicoechea.

Cypress trees can also be found in the altitudes of Heredia, Alajuela and Moravia.

Source La Nacion

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