Whether you buy it at a farm or in a tree lot, buying a real Christmas tree is good for Wisconsin’s economy and environment.
“Having a real Christmas tree is a better environmental option because they are a recyclable and renewable resource,” said Casey Langan, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation spokesman. “Most tree farms plant two to three trees for every one that is cut and after the holidays the trees don’t end up in a landfill like artificial trees eventually do.”
With more than 600,000 evergreens harvested each fall, 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.
Cheryl Nicholson, executive secretary of the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association, said there are plenty of trees this year.
“It’s a great year to venture out to get a fresh Christmas tree,” Nicholson said. “There are more than 850 Christmas tree farms in Wisconsin and with the nearly perfect weather this past summer, the trees look great. The recent mild weather makes it easy to get a tree, whether it comes from a city retail lot or a tree farm. I hope that families take time and enjoy looking for their perfect tree.”
Other benefits of real Christmas trees include absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen.
“Christmas tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts,” Langan added. “Often, Christmas trees are grown on soils that could not support other crops.”
Even after Christmas, the real trees can be recycled into mulch to be used on trails or gardens. Some cut trees are used as soil erosion barriers, wildlife habitats or placed in ponds for fish shelters.
The Wisconsin economy also benefits from Christmas tree farms.
“The sale of more than 600,000 Christmas trees generate $14.3 million annually for Wisconsin’s economy,” Langan said.
“More families are seeking the on-farm experience, whether or not they actually cut a tree themselves or select a fresh-cut tree from an on-farm lot,” Nicholson added. “This trip to the country allures people who want to enjoy open space and can include the increasingly popular agritourism activities. Some tree farms offer gift shops, farm animals, reindeer, bonfires, hot chocolate, wagon rides and other activities.”
A full list of farms and retail lots are available on the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association’s website (www.christmastrees-wi.org).
Tips for selecting a real tree can be found on the National Christmas Tree Producers Association’s website (www.realchristmastrees.org/dnn/Home.aspx).