Real Christmas Trees Benefit Wisconsin’s Economy and Environment
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.
“With many consumers showing a preference for local products, the tradition of celebrating Christmas with a real tree is a great option to support Wisconsin tree growers,” said Sarah Hetke, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Director of Communications.
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 even though the year’s weather conditions weren’t ideal.
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. “The snow in northern Wisconsin makes a pretty scene and might even make for a good snowball fight in the tree field. In the south, the milder weather makes it even easier to take a trip to a farm.”
Wisconsin has more than 850 Christmas tree farms. According to the most recent agricultural census, Wisconsin ranks fifth in the nation in the number of trees cut and acres (more than 23,000) in production. More than 700,000 evergreens are harvested each fall.
“The sale of farm-grown Christmas trees and fresh 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 wintertime 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 RealTree4Me.com, along with tips for selecting a tree and caring for it once you have it home. Additional information about farm grown trees can be found on the National Christmas Tree Association website at realchristmastrees.org.