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Michigan Christmas tree, pumpkin crops doing well

Sept. 27, 2012 | 0 comments

It looks as though it's going to be a good year for Michigan's holiday crops after all.

Although some Christmas trees fell victim to the year's wild weather, growers say it's unlikely to affect consumers in the state.

And pumpkin growers say they're doing well after the drought and heat of the summer.

The news about the holiday crops' successes is welcome for Michigan consumers who have been paying higher prices for fruit after this year's crops of apples, peaches and cherries were severely hurt by unseasonably warm March weather followed by several nights of freezes.

"We've got a great crop of pumpkins this year. They look really good," Glen Mitchell, owner of Mitchell Farms in Holly, told the Detroit Free Press for a story.

Mitchell said at one time he wasn't sure the pumpkin crop would make it.

"We were extremely dry for like a month and a half, but then we started getting moisture and things revived - amazingly, because it didn't look possible," he said.

Michigan was on the outer edge of the summer drought that affected much of the nation's midsection. Counties near the Indiana boundary were most affected. Some areas in the northern part of the state even had more rainfall than usual.

The Christmas tree casualties were the tiny seedlings planted this year, not the mature trees that will be harvested for the coming holiday season.

Frank Rimi said he lost 30 to 50 percent of the more than 2,000 seedlings he planted at his Addison-Oaks Christmas Tree Farm in Oakland Township.

"You always plant more than you expect to sell," Rimi said. "But that's pretty significant. Normally you wouldn't expect to lose that much."

It takes eight to 10 years for a tree to mature to Christmas size, and growers will plant additional trees next year to make up for this year's losses.

Michigan ranks third in the country in the number of Christmas trees harvested and produces more varieties of Christmas trees than any other state, the Free Press said.

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