Wisconsin Christmas tree growers say there's plenty of trees to go around
Demand is up for real Christmas trees in Wisconsin, but that doesn't mean a shortage, unlike many other supply chains nationwide.
Farmers credit the pandemic and a desire to create a cozier, nostalgic Christmas, as well as supply-chain issues with artificial trees, to this demand increase.
Other factors impacting availability of trees across the U.S. include wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and a pine tree pest infestation in the South, according to the American Christmas Tree Association.
However, Wisconsin growers want to reassure consumers that they'll have their tree this year.
"Anybody that wants a real tree should be able to get one," Cheryl Nicholson of the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association said.
Wisconsin is the fifth largest producer of Christmas trees in the nation, and Christmas trees contribute $50 million to the state's economy.
Nicholson also explained that Christmas trees take 10-12 years to reach full maturity. So while there could be fewer trees if a smaller number were planted 10-12 years ago than normal, it doesn't mean there's a shortage to panic about.
Wisconsin's 74th Alice in Dairyland Julia Nunes launched the official tree cutting season at Hann's Christmas Tree Farm in Oregon, Wis. by cutting down a tree in front of supporters.
"My family, we always pick a real Christmas tree," Nunes said. "It's a natural product, it's biodegradable, it won't fill up a landfill... but it doesn't feel like Christmas without a real Christmas tree. It's about the whole experience."
"With supply chain disruptions facing this holiday season, it is a great time to support Wisconsin tree growers with the purchase of a real tree,” said Cassie Sonnentag, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Director of Media Relations and Outreach. “A recent survey indicated that 25% of respondents who put up an artificial tree in 2020 indicated that they will put up a real tree in 2021.”
Greg Hann, owner of Hann's Christmas Tree Farm for 21 years, affirmed that there's no scare of a Christmas tree shortage, but it's good to think ahead about what kind of tree you want. Hann said to make sure to measure the height of your ceilings, and if you're able to properly care for a live tree inside your home.
"It's just like a cut flower. Try to keep it fresh," Hann said, and suggested tree stands that hold at least a gallon of water.
Hann's Christmas Tree Farm sells approximately 5,000-6,000 trees per year.
Hann recommended that consumers use the interactive map ‘Find a Real Tree’ on the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association’s website at www.christmastrees-wi.org. He noted that consumers may need to be flexible in choosing a tree.
“Harvest went good for tree growers and there are plenty of trees available,” according to Hann.