Still looking for that perfect tree?

Select a Michigan Christmas tree for a fresh, festive holiday

Are you still looking for that perfect Christmas tree to make your holiday season bright and festive? If you answered yes, then look no further than a Michigan-grown Christmas tree.

"Michigan produces and sells more than a dozen tree varieties on a wholesale level -- more varieties than any other state - so there is no shortage of choices to find that perfect tree," said Gordon Wenk, chief deputy director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA). "As you celebrate the season, I encourage you to select a farm-grown Michigan Christmas tree. It not only adds fragrant beauty and tradition to holiday festivities, but also helps support Michigan's agri-business."

The climate, soils and topography of Michigan permit the production of many popular species of Christmas trees. The top Christmas tree species are Scotch Pine. The three other leading species are Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir and Colorado Blue Spruce. Michigan has approximately 42,000 acres in commercial Christmas tree production, with an annual farm gate value of over $45 million. The top six counties - Allegan, Manistee, Missaukee, Montcalm, Oceana, and Wexford - account for just over 50 percent of Michigan's total Christmas tree acreage. The industry also generates an additional $1.3 million in sales of wreaths, cut boughs, garland, and other cut greens.

"Many family holiday traditions include a trip to a Christmas tree farm this time of year to choose and cut the perfect tree," said Marsha Gray, executive director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association. "Many people don't realize that Michigan ranks third in the nation in the number of Christmas trees harvested. Thanks to the great partnership between tree farmers and MDA's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division we're able to supply approximately 3 million farm-grown Christmas trees to the United States market each year."

After the holidays, there are several ways to recycle your Christmas trees. Many communities chip the trees and use them for mulch, hiking trails, playground areas, animal stalls, or landscaping. Whole trees are recycled for an even greater variety of uses: river shoreline stabilization, sand dune erosion prevention, marshland sedimentation, fish habitat, winter garden decorations, wild bird feeders, even hazardous chemical clean-ups.

For more information on Michigan's Christmas tree industry or to find a Christmas tree farm in your area, visit MDA's website at www.michigan.gov/ mda or contact the Michigan Christmas Tree Association at 800-589-TREE or at www.mcta.org ( http://www. mcta.org/ ).

Published: Thu, Dec 16, 2010

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