Christmas tree farms a cut above the average

Alyssa Leonard
By Alyssa Leonard January 12, 2018 12:28
A real Christmas tree lit up for Bright Lights Windsor. (Photo by Josie Richards)

A real Christmas tree lit up for Bright Lights Windsor. (Photo by Josie Richards)

By Alyssa Leonard

Many Canadian Christmas tree farmers are closing up shop — but for those who remain, profits are growing.

According to Statistics Canada, the country has seen a 21 per cent decrease in the number of Christmas tree farms since 2011, having gone from 2,381 farms down to 1,872 in 2016. Yet despite the decline, revenue from these farms went up a striking 41 per cent while artificial Christmas tree import revenue saw a significantly smaller 0.9 per cent increase from 2013 to 2016.

Shelley Enns and her husband Steve own Warkentin’s Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Farm in Leamington. Enns said they sell between 275 and 350 trees on average per year, being a smaller farm compared to many others. She said in the past few years they have had a lot of new customers who are interested in real trees.

“This year was the most I’ve heard of excited families talking about how this was to be their first real tree, or that they had them growing up, switched to artificial, and now want to go back to real,” said Enns.

She said over the years customers have told her how they prefer real Christmas trees because they smell better and can be recycled as mulch. Enns said she loves picking out a tree every year because for her family it is tradition.

“Our tree is by far the big decoration in the house that tells us it’s Christmas season,” said Enns. “My son cuts it down and we all help decorate.”

In addition, fresh-cut export revenue of Christmas trees saw a 55 per cent increase in 2016 from 2013, bringing in $82.8 million for Canada. Enns said most trees are shipped out of province from Northern Ontario or Quebec.

An alternative to fresh-cut trees are “live” or “living” trees. These usually come in a burlap sack or a large pot, allowing the buyer to plant them after Christmas to grow all year for next season.

Alyssa Leonard
By Alyssa Leonard January 12, 2018 12:28

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