By Clint Thompson
Christmas tree sales have spiked in recent years across Alabama. It has piqued the interest of growers hoping to start their own Christmas tree farm.
Jeremy Pickens, Alabama Assistant Extension professor in horticulture at Auburn University, discussed the recent trend of producers wanting to get into the industry.
“I’d say the interest from people wanting to do it is, it’s real appealing to those who want to retire soon or are retired. They have a little bit of land, and they’re looking for some supplemental income or something to do when they retire. That’s probably the biggest thing from people who are interested in growing,” Pickens said. “There’s been a good bit of interest in Christmas tree production the last few years.”
Interest was high during the recent Christmas tree workshop held at the Wadsworth Christmas Tree farm in Wetumpka, Alabama. Pickens said about 50 growers and industry leaders attended the event which introduced growers to planting, fertilizing, pruning and weed control in producing trees.
Christmas tree sales increased following COVID. Parents had a renewed interest in taking family outings to the farm.
“I think the biggest one is the social media advertising and the desire for young families, they’re on social media and they want to go out and get the farm experience. They want their pictures out there where they’re over at the farm, so I think that kickstarted it,” Pickens said. “The season during COVID was so good, it probably increased awareness of existing farms. On top of that, I think people are just interested in a more natural tree instead of a plastic one.”
Agritourism is an important component of Christmas tree farms. Producers invite families during the fall and early wintertime of year for their annual pilgrimage to find the perfect tree.