News & Opinion | December 24, 2019 10:37 am

Christmas Tree Farms Are Going Extinct

Tree farms are shutting down at an alarming rate

What happened to all the real Christmas trees?
What happened to all the real Christmas trees?
Getty Images

The business of Christmas trees is a hard one. In a recent article from The New York Times, reporter Julie Bosman travelled to Indiana, where the dying industry is most prevalent. Part of the issue stems from the fact that many Christmas tree farmers are choosing to retire as they get older, and those that choose to remain in the business face a hard road ahead. In Indiana alone, more than 40 percent of Christmas tree farms have shut down.

“It sounds cushy,” farmer Carrie Cusick told the Times, “Oh you only have Christmas trees? But it’s hard work.”

The trees alone are not enough to attract visitors. Now the act of getting a tree has to be an experience, on that includes other activities such as hayrides and Santa Claus.”I tell people, ‘I’m a tree farmer. I don’t want to entertain you,’” Rick Robbins, a tree farmer who has been in the business for 39 years, told the Times.

Another reason for the quickly disappearing industry is due its lack of appeal. The work of a tree farmer is one that requires extreme patience — it takes at least six years for the trees farmers plant in the spring to fully grow, and even then they’re not guaranteed to be able to sell them. If a tree grows to be less than desired, it’ll often become wreaths or door sways. The work is also extremely tedious, farmers spending entire days in the summer trimming trees and marking them by which year they are to be sold.

Although many people have grown to prefer plastic trees, namely boomers, farmers have noticed an increase in young customers, particularly millennials.

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