CADILLAC — The Christmas season is almost here and soon families will be looking for the perfect tree to take home and decorate.
As local Christmas tree farms prepare for the holidays, many are anticipating another lively season ahead.
“It just seems to be getting busier and busier,” Dutchman Tree Farms Program Manager Kate Dodde said.
Since 1972, Dutchman Tree Farms in Manton has been offering a variety of services and trees for its customers. In the last two weeks, Dodde said the farm has been working hard to get trees into stores before Thanksgiving.
“We spent 18 years growing the trees and we got to them in two weeks,” she said. “So it’s been pretty crazy.”
The craziness doesn’t stop there. Dodde said the farm has been preparing its choose-and-cut operation too.
“It’s always a busy little zoo over there as far as getting things separated and any new signs or activities up,” she said. “Getting ready for that is always quite the buzz.”
Dodde said the farm has continued to see an increase in demand for Christmas trees in recent years, especially around Thanksgiving. After the COVID-19 pandemic, she said more people seem to be gravitating toward outdoor activities like cutting down a Christmas tree and the holiday in general.
“I think it’s just that people look forward to Christmas more now,” Dodde said. “It’s such a joyful time of year and the longer we get to celebrate it the more fun it is.”
Dutchman Tree Farms will be open on Fridays and Saturdays until Christmas from 9 am to dusk. Dodde said they offer a little bit of everything, including Fraser firs, Concolor firs, black spruce trees, and Scotch pine trees.
Dodde said the Fraser firs are the most popular because they have strong limbs and smell good. For heavy ornaments, she recommends blue spruce trees because they have the strongest branches. These trees also have a unique blue color.
Dodde said people with allergies should consider the Concolor firs. This tree also has a citrusy smell that people may enjoy. For a traditional Christmas tree, the Scotch pine tree is the way to go. Dodde said this tree is full, dense, and green.
Other farmers are expecting a high to steady turnout this season. Jamie Helsel Tree Farms Owner Jamie Helsel said his farm did pretty good last year and is looking forward to much of the same at his choose-and-cut operation in McBain.
“I think it’s a fun family event,” he said. “Lots of people don’t get out in nature as often as they probably should and this is an experience where they can do that.”
Since his great-grandfather started the farm decades ago, Helsel said he has offered primarily spruce trees like the Black Hills blue, and Norway spruce. He also offers Fraser, Douglas, and Concolor firs.
Green trees are the only ones he sells on his farm. Helsel said he has Black Hills spruce trees that are painted in purple, pink, blue, and white. Helsel’s farm will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm until the week before Christmas. People may also call (231) 920-1046 to schedule an appointment during the week.
Co-owner of Duddles Tree Farms Tony Duddle said it’s hard to say how many will show up at his farm, but has seen a steady increase each year.
“The last few years have been really good for me, so hopefully this year will be the same,” Duddle said.
Since 1957, Duddles Tree Farms has been growing and harvesting all sorts of different trees for retail and wholesale purposes. This year he said his farm will offer blue and Black Hills spruce trees and Douglas, Fraser, and Concolor firs. His farm will be open daily from 9 am to 6 pm
Farmers also have tips for taking care of your Christmas tree during the holiday season. After cutting down your tree, Helsel said people need to make sure it has a fresh cut on it for water absorption.
“Make sure that has a fresh cut on it because what happens is that buck seals over and then it won’t draw any water,” he said.
Helsel said people then need to make sure they are filling up their tree stand with water every day to keep the tree alive.
Where you display your Christmas tree is another thing to watch out for. Dodde said people should avoid heat sources like direct sunlight to help with the longevity of the tree.
When dealing with needles, Dodde recommended using a tree removal bag. She said this bag will collect needles and then can be pulled over the tree when you’re ready to dispose of it.
“It makes it the most efficient way to get the tree out of your house at the end of the year,” she said.