ANOKA, Minn. — Many Christmas tree farms are opening this weekend, getting ready to sell their perennial wares despite another dry growing season.
Friday is the opening day first at Hansen Tree Farm in Anoka, and they're putting up signage and getting the hayride ready for customers.
"We're all pumped so it's exciting. We're looking for a great season," said Dave Hansen.
The excitement families feel about picking out a Christmas tree is rivaled by the excitement Hansen feels about growing them.
"This field is Balsam. That's the native fir for the Great Lakes. Great, beautiful tree. Holds needles great," he said.
And that's despite three straight summers of extremely dry weather. While the older trees aren't impacted by drought, a number of the smaller trees planted this past spring did not survive — even with drip irrigation and lots of rain this fall.
"The last three years have just been crazy weather. Everybody knows. Great spring, great planting and then it just stopped," he said.
Hansen says the result could mean fewer trees and shorter trees years down the road on his 40-acre farm. But he believes this year's crop is exceptional.
Because people can cut their own trees outdoors, business really took off during the pandemic. And those customers keep coming back — even before the Thanksgiving holiday.
"A good fir should last now until Christmas. Sometimes they bud out and start actually growing," said Mark Hansen.
The Hansen brothers say they sell about 2,500 Christmas trees a year. Another challenge has been catching up from the pandemic, because so many trees were sold that they had to plant even more to get caught up.
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