It’s Christmas Time 2020: Keep It REAL and Buy Local

With the pandemic resulting in more time spent at home, even more families are showing a preference towards a real tree to celebrate the holidays, which not only makes for great memories, but also benefits Wisconsin’s economy and environment.

“With consumers showing a desire to support local businesses, the tradition of celebrating Christmas with a real tree is a great option to support Wisconsin tree growers,” said Sarah Hetke, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Director of Communications. “In light of the pandemic, a recent survey indicated that 21 percent of respondents who put up an artificial tree in 2019 indicated that they will put up a real tree in 2020.”

Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases, and in turn, emit oxygen. For every real Christmas tree harvested, two to three seedlings are planted. Tree farms also serve as great habitat for wildlife to live.

After Christmas, trees can be recycled into mulch to be used on trails or gardens. Growers use the mulch around seedlings to preserve moisture and reduce weed competition. Some recycled cut trees are used as soil erosion barriers or wildlife habitats.

Meeting consumer demands for real Christmas trees this year won’t be a problem.

“Harvest went good for tree growers and there are plenty of trees available,” according to Dean Lemke, new president of the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association and manager of Central Wisconsin Evergreens, Inc. “This year, I suspect that some farms might sell out earlier because demand will be high since people haven’t been able to do as much.”

Wisconsin has more than 850 Christmas tree farms. According to the most recent agricultural census, Wisconsin ranks fifth in the nation in the number of trees cut and acres (more than 23,000) in production. More than 700,000 evergreens are harvested each fall.

“COVID may have put an extra wrinkle in our businesses but the Christmas tree growers are doing whatever they can to keep everyone safe,” assured Lemke. “Now is the perfect time for families to venture out to get a real Christmas tree, the milder weather makes it even easier to take a trip to a tree farm or retail Christmas tree lot.”

A complete list of farms and retail lots is available on the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association’s website at, along with tips for selecting a tree and caring for it once you have it home. Additional information about farm grown trees can be found on the National Christmas Tree Association website at

Though a grant received by the WCTPA, WFBF’s Ag in the Classroom program is collaborating in the creation of educational resources and promotion  of careers in the tree industry. These resources will be available to students in the near future.

The Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association membership is comprised of Christmas tree growers, wreath makers and industry related companies. The mission of the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association is to promote real Christmas trees, wreaths and greenery through marketing and education of our members and customers and to produce quality real, farm fresh and fragrant products while protecting the environment.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization representing farms of all sizes, commodities and management styles. Farm Bureau’s mission is to lead the farm and rural community through legislative representation, education, public relations and leadership development.