I'm pretty sure that the phenomenon of tree-strewn streets in January is relatively new. I've lived here for 18 years and I can't remember the streets being similarly afflicted in the late 90s and early 2000s. I think that back then, real Christmas trees were probably less popular than they are now and people tended to dispose of their own, in the days before the Council collected garden waste.
According to information that I've found on the internet, 8.2 million real trees were sold in the UK in 2011 and demand is growing. A good proportion of those come from abroad and the largest grower and supplier of Christmas trees in Europe supplies 400,000 trees to garden centres and other retailers across the UK. Scottish plantations bring another 250,000 to the wholesale market. On the basis that it takes six to eight years to grow a spruce or fir to 2m, you can begin to see that not only is there a reasonably long lead time, but there's also a healthy and growing market for the trees once your plantation is up and running. As with anything, however, there's more to the Christmas tree business than meets the eye: in the same way that any agricultural business can be affected by weather and pestilence, so too Christmas trees can be damaged by late frosts and by current season needle necrosis (known as CSNN in the industry).
On the other hand, all businesses have their risks and challenges and in much the same way that we all need undertakers and cemeteries, it seems that we all increasingly feel that we need real Christmas trees. If there was some way of combining these seemingly disparate businesses, that really would be a winner. What about a cemetery planted with harvestable conifers? I'd be quite happy to be buried in such a place. Perhaps I should work on a business plan and test the water with some potential investors. If you really wanted to corner the market you could also invest in a mobile Christmas-tree disposal service, going door to door and being paid to turn the defunct Christmas tree into wood chippings and mulch to spread around the base of the trees and shrubs in your woodland cemetery. As an alternative, you could use the wood for making pine-scented coffins. Dragons' Den, here I come.
I'm not suggesting that my hastily-conceived business idea, inspired by dead Edinburgh Christmas trees, is the most investable idea that anyone ever had, but if you have an embryonic business idea that may be, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'd be happy to put you in touch with people who may be able to help.
Now for the legal bit: this blog isn’t intended to constitute legal or investment advice, and even if you think my idea sounds like a good one, please don't send me any cash.