(WFRV) – Christmas tree growers are preparing for an even bigger holiday boom of shoppers this year, calling the demand for this traditional décor item “pandemic proof”.
“It is great being outdoors and that is an advantage of a business like this,” says Randy Krueger of Krueger Tree Farm.
You could say Christmas tree growers are professional social distancers. Seedlings are typically planted around six feet apart, to give them room to grow. A process that takes at least seven years.
“I enjoy the people, the happiness you see on their faces, and the togetherness of the families when they come and get a tree,” Krueger says.
Smiles – behind masks this year. Growers are asking people to continue practicing common Covid-19 safety tips, including wearing a mask when indoors.
“We will be sanitizing the areas that are touched frequently” he explains.
While some tree farms are forgoing activities like hayrides to the field, the Kruegers are getting creative to get customers’ finds from the forest. “New this year, we have a sled to pull it up rather than carry it or drag it, though hopefully not the mud”
If the business boom seen by strawberry growers and pumpkin patches is any indication this will be a record-setting year for our state’s Christmas tree growers.
“The majority of [shoppers] will cut their own. I do have some on hand for precut, but they like to pick out own tree, cut it down” Krueger explains.
Randy expects some first-time shoppers to take their family for the “experience” of hunting down a tree during a year when many other activities are canceled.
If you have not cared for a real tree before, water is key.
According to Krueger “The best is to get it in the stand immediately that is a fresh cut, water will start absorbing as soon as it warms up in your house. If you do leave it sit, cut about an inch off the bottom if you leave it sit awhile”
Wisconsin is the nation’s fifth-largest Christmas tree producer, with an annual harvest of more than 600,000 trees, valued at more than $16 million.