Thanksgiving signals the unofficial start of the Christmas season. Many families choose a real tree to celebrate the holiday which not only makes for great memories, but also benefits Wisconsin’s economy and environment.
“Choosing a real Christmas tree supports local farmers and is an environmentally-friendly option,” said Sarah Hetke, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Director of Communications. “With many consumers showing a preference for local products, the tradition of celebrating Christmas with a real tree is a great option.”
Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases, and in turn emit oxygen. For every real Christmas tree harvested, two to three seedlings are planted. Tree farms also serve as great habitat for wildlife to live.
After Christmas, trees can be recycled into mulch to be used on trails or gardens. Growers use the mulch around seedlings to preserve moisture and reduce weed competition. Some recycled cut trees are used as soil erosion barriers or wildlife habitats.
Meeting consumer demands for real Christmas trees this year won’t be a problem due to ideal weather conditions.
There are plenty of trees available, according to Cheryl Nicholson, executive secretary of the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association.
“Now is the perfect time for families to venture out to get a real Christmas tree,” Nicholson said. “With the good growing season this past summer the trees are very healthy and look great.”
Wisconsin has more than 365 licensed Christmas tree farms. According to the most recent agricultural census, Wisconsin is fifth in the nation in the number of trees cut and acres (more than 23,000) in production. More than 600,000 evergreens are harvested each fall.
“The sale of Christmas trees and wreaths generates more than 16 million dollars for Wisconsin’s economy and thousands of residents are employed in the industry, because it is a labor-intensive agriculture crop,” added Nicholson. “Many tree farms offer gift shops, farm animals, reindeer, bonfires, hot chocolate, wagon rides and other activities, which makes for a fun winter-time ag-tourism trip for families.”
A complete list of farms and retail lots is available on the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association’s website at RealTreeForMe.com. Tips for selecting a tree and caring for it can also be found on the website. More information about farm grown trees can be found on the National Christmas Tree Producers Association’s website at realchristmastrees.org.