The Hanoitimes - The unreasonably warm winter has caused up to 80 percent of the peach blossom (dao) trees in the capital city’s major peach blossom gardens to bloom prematurely, well ahead of the Tet (traditional Lunar New Year) holiday for which they are an indispensable decoration.
Pink shades of peach blossoms flowers have covered major gardens in Hanoi. While tourists snapped away at the pretty blooms, garden owners looked worried. They knew their prematurely flowering trees would not sell for Tet celebrations. Several decided to cut branches from the peach blossom trees and sell them at low prices.
“It will be more profitable to sell a whole tree,” said Nguyen Thi Phuong, a peach blossom grower in the famous peach blossom Nhat Tan ward. “But once they have bloomed, we will lose even more money if we don’t sell them by branch.”
Phuong is trying to sell as many branches as she can to make up for the devaluation of the prematurely flowered trees. She sold each branch for 50,000 VND (2.2 USD) instead of 100,000-150,000 VND (4.4-4.6 USD) as in previous year.
“The most well-formed branches can be sold at only 100,000-200,000 VND each instead of 300,000-500,000 VND like last year,” said Do Van Hien, owner of a peach blossom garden.
Photo for illustration
Peach blossom gardens in the northern province of Hai Duong are also disappointed with the thousands of prematurely flowering peach blossom trees.
Standing in a 4ha plot of 3,000 peach blossom trees that he had been growing for the entire year, Le Van Nam in Hai Duong city’s Thach Khoi ward sighed at the sight of the blooms. “It cost me some 1 billion VND (44,400 USD) to grow this garden,” he said. “Now I can regain only 20 percent of that.”
The demand for peach blossom has not risen since Tet will only be celebrated on January 28. Only five customers had visited Nam’s garden to either pay a deposit or rent trees.
The tree price fluctuates every year and depends on the appearance of the trunks. The most well-formed trees can be sold at 2-3 million VND each.
Due to inefficient rice cultivation, several households in the ward switched to growing peace blossom trees this year, increasing their area by 10ha, said Pham Quang Hiep, chairman of the ward People’s Committee.
The premature blooming makes customers think the flowers will not remain and beautiful by the time of Tet, he added.
“Five-to-six years old, well-formed peach blossom trees can be sold for 100 million VND,” Hiep said. “But this year’s sales might be 50 percent lower.”
Farmers in neighbouring Gia Loc district’s Lien Hong commune are experiencing the same problem. Vu Vinh Tuan, Chairman of the communal People’s Committee, said that at least 50 percent of the commune’s peach blossom gardens will fail to sell this year.
“By this time of year in the past, farmers started transporting the trees to sell in the south,” he said. “This year they probably can’t”.
But other peach garden owners in Hanoi appeared more positive, saying they will be able to prevent the peach from blooming if a cold snap occurs from now to Tet.
With branches that have only sprouted small buds, they try to regulate their growth by not watering them too much so that the flowers will bloom during the holiday.
Nguyen Hoang Mai, a resident of the capital’s Hoang Mai district, bought five peach blossom branches last week to decorate her house and office because of the low prices.
Tuan Dinh, a resident of Dong Da district who buys peach blossom branches for decoration every year, said he is not worried about the prematurely flowering peach blossom trees. “This is not the first hot Tet in Hanoi and a cold snap is coming in a few days,” he said.
“I think farmers are using different techniques to slow the flowering,” he added. “I’m confident that we will still have nice peach blossom branches for the festival".