Christmas tree buyers are looking for spruces and firs that will last beyond the holiday season, some area lot owners say.
Steve McCann, manager of the nursery at Don Mould’s Plantation and Garden Center in Amherst Township, said his customers increasingly prefer “ball and burlap” trees that preserve the root structure and allow for replanting.
“You still have to keep a ball and burlap tree dormant and in a cool area,” he said. “People like to have a memory of their holiday experience. You can plant it, look out in your yard, and see the tree you bought 10 years ago.”
McCann expects Mould’s to sell about 100 trees this holiday season, which range in size from four to nine feet, and in price from $15 to $60.
He said the desire for rooted trees might have to do with customers not wanting to feel wasteful.
“When a tree is cut down, three are planted in its place,” he said. “But it’s still a tree, and people want it to be something that lasts outside of being a decoration for a few months.”
Jim Kurtz, owner of Kurtz Christmas Tree Farm in Wellington Township, expects to sell between 300 and 350 trees this year, ranging from six to 11 feet and $35 to $100.
The farm has sold Christmas trees for 40 years but the owner said demand for cut trees versus rooted trees has remained fairly steady.
“I dig by hand with a spade,” he said. “I get down on my knees and dig out about eight to 10 every year. That number used to be about 15 to 20 but I’m just getting too old. Rooted trees are popular but there’s been no increase in demand for them here. I can definitely see the reasoning in not wanting to just get rid of, cut up, or grind down a perfectly good tree, though.”
Kurtz said he’s also seen more families and groups who want to cut their own trees.
“I would say going back about three or four years, the customer base who wants to go out and cut a fresh tree as opposed to picking one out has grown,” he said. “They like to make a family affair out of it. That part of my business has definitely increased.”
Locke’s Go Green Landscaping and Garden Center opened in 1956 in Oberlin. Co-owner Emil Ruth anticipates selling 60 to 70 trees ranging from three to 11 feet and $35 to $79.
Ruth said demand for rooted trees has increased slightly, but trends have remained steady on all other fronts.
“I’m not sure what’s led to people wanting a live tree more often, but it’s fair to say they’ve become more popular,” he said.
Photos by Jonathan Delozier and Evan Goodenow | Civitas Media Rachelle Brown, Chris and Donna Wirth, and their children Lakota and Deakan pick out a tree at Kurtz Christmas Tree Farm in Wellington.