For immediate release: December 1, 2020
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724
LANSING, MI – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today proclaimed December as Michigan Christmas Tree Month honoring the economic, environmental and social benefits of the state’s Christmas tree industry.
“Real Michigan Christmas trees are an important tradition for many families, whether you visit a Christmas tree farm or a retail tree lot,” said Gary McDowell, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director. “You not only get a fresh, fragrant, beautiful tree as the centerpiece of your holiday decorations, but at many locations you also get the experience a variety of activities like hayrides or sleigh rides, petting farms, visits with Santa and more.”
Michigan's integrated network of family farmers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers work together to ensure a quality product celebrated by millions throughout our state and country. This industry has also been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and has implemented safety measures to keep their patrons safe while still giving them a fresh, fragrant Michigan Christmas tree to adorn their holidays.
Michigan ranks third in the nation for the number of Christmas trees harvested, supplying about 2 million fresh trees – with an annual net value of $30-40 million – to the national market each year. There are more than 560 Christmas tree farms on a combined 37,000 acres in Michigan, ranging from large wholesale farms, to choose and cut farms, to small farms with a few acres selling pre-cut trees.
“Michigan Christmas tree growers and sellers are taking precautions this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, to make sure visitors stay safe and healthy,” said Amy Start, executive director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association. “Key safety measures have been implemented to assure the well-being of their customers and employees. Visitors can help our agriculture community by following on-farm safety protocols, wearing masks, social distancing, washing their hands often, and staying home if they are not feeling well.”
Michigan grows and sells more than nine major Christmas tree species on a wholesale level, which is more species than any other state. The most popular types of Christmas trees available in Michigan include: Scotch Pine, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, Balsam Fir, Concolor Fir, Douglas Fir and Fraser Fir. In addition to Christmas trees, the industry makes an additional $4.1 million in the sales of wreaths, cut boughs, garland and other related items.
Real Christmas trees are also a great environmental choice. They grow on rocky soil typically unsuitable for other crops. They provide extra woodland for animals, create oxygen, and take carbon dioxide out of the air, helping combat global warming. Christmas trees can also be recycled. The best way to recycle your tree after Christmas is to chip it into mulch, which can be used for landscaping projects. Christmas trees take six to eight years to reach marketable height. For every Christmas tree harvested, Michigan growers plant three new trees for future harvests.
“The Friday right after Thanksgiving is the unofficial start of Michigan’s Christmas tree season and most farms are open through Christmas Eve,” said McDowell. “I invite you to celebrate the season and to make a fresh, fragrant, farm-grown Michigan Christmas tree part of your holiday traditions. Thank you for supporting our local farmers and agricultural communities.”
Visit www.MichiganFarmFun.com for a directory of Michigan Christmas tree farms. The directory is searchable by business name, product, and region. For information on where to recycle Christmas trees after the holiday season, check with your local municipality or area recycler, or visit the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s Michigan Recycling Directory and use the keyword ‘Christmas trees” in the search browser.