MCTA: Michigan produces third-most Christmas trees in US

The Michigan Christmas Tree Assocation (MCTA) said there are more than 500 Christmas tree growers in Michigan.
One of the Christmas trees for sale in Iron Mountain
One of the Christmas trees for sale in Iron Mountain(WLUC)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:05 PM EST
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - As the temperature drops and snow looms, many are buying fresh Christmas trees for the holiday season.

Despite supply chain issues with fertilizer and tree saplings, there are plenty of available trees from local vendors. One of those is Swanson’s Big Red Barn out of Niagara, Wisconsin. The business also sells trees next to Storheim’s Restaurant in Iron Mountain.

“Right now, we are looking at 350 to 400 trees that will be able to be sold. Anyone who is looking for a tree will be able to get one,” said Joey Swanson, Swanson’s Big Red Barn co-owner.

Swanson said this is a large increase in supply from last year. The Michigan Christmas Tree Association (MCTA) said Michigan is the third-highest producer of Christmas trees in the U.S.

“We have several members in the Upper Peninsula, not as many as Lower Michigan. It can be climate-related that has to do with it,” said Amy Start, Michigan Christmas Tree Association executive director. “That 45th parallel line, that is a hot growing zone. You see a lot of growers in that part of our state.”

Start said there are more than 500 Christmas tree growers in Michigan. Farms located along the border with Wisconsin, like Swanson’s Big Red Barn and Teal’s Tree Farms in Bark River, sell to both Michigan and Wisconsin residents.

During the pandemic, Start said farms saw a large uptick in people buying real trees because it gave people a place to be outside.

“The same people that like farmer’s markets, millennials, they want to have that experience. They want to take their kids to see where the products are grown,” Start said.

It takes about seven years to grow a tree to a typical size for your home. So, the impacts of the pandemic are yet to be fully seen. Start said the price of a Christmas tree has remained relatively consistent.

“They might go up marginally,” Start said. “I visited several farms over the last couple of weeks, it was honestly a few dollars that had changed. Nothing that made me go wow, that’s a lot.”

Swanson said the average cost of a tree at his farm is between $45 and $65. This depends on the species, height and if it’s pre-cut. He expects the next two weekends to be extremely busy.