The challenges Christmas tree farms face

Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 6:21 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The weekend of Christmas and the first weekend in December are what is often called the busy season for Christmas tree farmers as people look to get into the holiday spirit.

“We’ve had fantastic years of live trees,” Greg Hann, Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association Promotions Director, said. “With the younger families wanting to get a live tree with their young kids and then the combination of COVID, it really has boosted our industry substantially.”

Producing enough trees has been difficult for Curvue Hideaway and Trees. When Christmas tree farmers plant their trees, they often aren’t able to sell those trees for seven to nine years, which gives the trees time to grow to the appropriate height. For farmers, this means when one year’s crop doesn’t grow well, that loss might not be felt for years down the line.

Sean Malone and his wife have owned Curvue Hideaway and Trees for ten years and said the previous owner didn’t plant trees when they sold the farm. A decade later, the Malones are still feeling the loss of those trees.

“We’re kind of getting over that hump of, there are multiple years that there is nothing planted on the property and so our biggest detriment right now is, we have a lot of six to seven-foot tall trees, but eight, nine plus six trees we’re experiencing a shortage,” Malone said.

The challenges of preserving Christmas trees also connect to Wisconsin weather. With the warm summer and lack of rain, Curvue Hideaway and Trees lost nearly one-third of the trees planted this year.

“The trees that we established did actually really well. We had a tremendous amount of growth on the mature trees. However, the trees that we planted this year, we experienced a significant loss with those trees,” Malone said.

But with higher demand, Curvue Hideaway and Trees also experienced growth.

“Our sales are up, especially with a lot of wreaths, porch pots, evergreen creations, Hann said. “Definitely numbers are up there.”

Wisconsin is the fifth largest Christmas tree producer in the nation.