In 2016 over 40% of Irish households are expected to have real Christmas trees in their homes for this festive season.

The Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA), which represents 80 growers from all over the country, are actively encouraging people to opt for a real Christmas tree this year through the #lovearealtree campaign.

By choosing a real Christmas tree, people will contribute to a healthy environment and help create jobs at the same time.

But how much do you actually know about Christmas trees and their history? The ICTGA have pulled together the 12 most interesting facts on Christmas trees as well as the Irish sector.

12 things you didn’t know about Christmas trees

1. Up to 400,000 real Irish Christmas trees are expected to be sold in Ireland this season.

2. The Christmas tree industry is worth approximately €21m to the Irish economy.

3. Christmas tree grower, Paudie Sugrue, from Belfield Nursery in Tralee, Co. Kerry, uses geese to control weeds in an environmentally friendly manner.

4. Kate Byrne, from Hackettstown in Co. Carlow, is one of Ireland’s only woman Christmas tree growers.

5. The average price of a real Irish Christmas tree is €43.

6. The first decorated Christmas tree can be traced back to city of Riga, which is the capital of Latvia, in the year 1510.

7. The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.

8. Most Irish Christmas trees are grown in counties Wicklow and Wexford, thanks to the climate, hilly land and the pH balance in the soil.

9. 44% of Irish households are expected to opt for a real Irish Christmas tree this year.

10. It takes approximately 10 years to grow a real Christmas tree.

11. The most popular tree is the Nordmann Fir, which has a dark green needle. Other species in demand are the Noble Fir, Fraser Fir, Korean Fir, Norway spruce and Lodgepole Pine.

12. The first use of the term ‘Christmas tree’ was in 1835.