With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, now is the time to get a locally grown Christmas tree to celebrate the holidays. If you don’t grow your own Christmas trees, buy a locally-grown fresh cut tree, support Massachusetts tree growers and beautify your home at the same time.
About 400 farms around Massachusetts grow Christmas trees, primarily for retail sale during the 5 week season from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Christmas tree sales add about $1.4 million to the Massachusetts economy, according to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Christmas tree season in Massachusetts provides hundreds of seasonal jobs at Christmas tree farms on approximately 3,000 acres of land from Cape Cod to the Berkshires.
Christmas trees take between 7 and 12 years to grow to maturity here, so trees being harvested this year were planted between 2005 and 2012. To ensure a sustainable harvest, growers need to replace trees harvested each year with new seedlings. Unlike the last two years when drought conditions made it very difficult for new seedlings to survive, most of the growing season in 2017 in most of the state had normal rainfall.
Christmas tree farms, which are often sited on soils that cannot support other crops, stabilize soil, which helps prevent erosion and protect water supplies. When chipped after the holiday season, the trees can be used as a renewable source of energy to be burned as fuel, used as mulch, or composted.
“Buying a fresh-cut tree from a local farm is the most environmentally friendly Christmas tree choice, as fresh trees are biodegradable, preserve open space and help reduce our carbon footprint,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.
While nationally, shortages of Christmas trees have been reported this year, local growers have plenty to choose from.
To find a list of local Christmas tree growers, see the Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association website at www.christmas-tree.org