Future Christmas Tree Crop Could Suffer

Posted at: 11/20/2012 2:43 PM
Updated at: 11/21/2012 1:43 PM
By: Chris Egert

Most local tree growers tell us this year is looking good - prices this year will be similar to the last few years - but the long-term Christmas tree outlook isn't so rosy.

Dave Hansen is a 3rd generation tree farmer in Ramsey.  Hansen tree farm turns 60 this year.  The lights are up, the buildings are ready, and they are set to open for the season Friday.

Hansen says, “The trees cut this year are fine, because we've had rain in the last few weeks...the trees harvested this year will be great."

Hansen is happy about what he sees this year -- but it hasn't been easy -- or cheap.

5 years ago Hansen spent 100-thousand dollars to install irrigation on their 40-acre farm.

He says without it - the last few years would have been impossible with drought conditions taking a toll on seedlings.

Hansen says other growers have confided in him that they are struggling, “I talked to another grower yesterday and asked specifically how things were looking for him.  He said he’s lost 85 percent of his young trees."

The trees you will put in your living room this year are 7- 10 years old - and will be fine - they've had enough rain.

Smaller trees are the ones you should be concerned about - 2 to three years of consistent drought has taken a toll - which Hansen says will ultimately cost you more in Christmases to come.

He believes, “The supply in the Midwest is a little bit tight, and is going to continue to be."

We also wondered if the lack of snow would somehow effect sales this year - if it doesn't look like Christmas will people still go cut their own tree - or pick one up at the neighborhood tree lot?

Growers believe that typically doesn't matter - people seem to get in the spending spirit even if the ground is brown. 

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