Christmas tree prices up nationally, local options remain steady

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Holiday shoppers might want to put some of their Black Friday savings toward their Christmas tree. The Associated Press reports some Christmas tree varieties will have a higher price tag this season in many parts of the country.

A 6-foot Douglas fir could sell for $25 in Oregon, but a similar tree could cost $80 in California. (Oregon grows one-third of the country's Christmas trees.) It's partly because tree growers will earn about $20 per tree, which is $2 more than the past years.

The Faribault Daily News reports Christmas tree prices should remain steady in that part of the state. Hy-Vee supermarket spokesperson Tara Deering-Hansen says the wholesale increase might not be passed on to customers when stores set prices. Other Faribault retailers agree that prices should remain the same.

The Faribault Daily also reports smaller tree farms aren't as affected by the factors that are increasing national prices. Locally sourced trees don't have to travel as far and maintain their freshness to name a few economic benefits.

The rainy summer this season was also ideal for tree growers, according to the Minnesota Farm Guide.

“Thanks to all the rain we had on our farm, our trees are in really great condition. We had a great growing season and our new plantings did well,” says Ken Olson, owner of Sandstone's Happy Land Tree Farms.

According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota tree farmers put about 500,000 Christmas trees on the market annually. It takes eight to 12 years for a Christmas tree to reach its "market height." Usually farmers plant an average of one to three seedlings to replace a harvested tree.

Nationally, the Christmas tree industry outlook is stable with some increases expected in coming years. But the growers are making less now than they were a few years ago.

The industry took a hit in the mid-2000s when demand fell. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states 20.8 million trees were harvested in 2002, and this number fell to 17.3 million in 2012.

The National Christmas Tree Association suggests offering more Christmas tree options for younger consumers in urban areas might help boost sales, such as smaller trees that can fit better into apartments, the AP reports.

Finding a Minnesota tree

http://youtu.be/_z2RhnKHhZ4

Prices for a tree in Minnesota could rise as the holiday nears and supply decreases, the AP reports.

You can find a Minnesota Christmas tree farm on The Minnesota Grown directory by clicking on "Christmas Tree" under the special category section.

WCCO viewers voted for the best place to cut down your own Minnesota tree. The Minnesota DNR issues special permits for residents to cut down Christmas trees. Permits are $25 and available through the DNR Forestry office.

The DNR cut down a 50-foot balsam fir from the Nemadji State Forest in the Minnesota Northland that traveled to Gov. Mark Dayton's house in St. Paul.

Another Minnesota tree traveled to Washington, D.C. where it will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol. The 88-foot tall white spruce was donated by the Chippewa National Forest, near Cass Lake.

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