How the drought impacted Christmas trees in Minnesota, western Wisconsin

At St. Croix Valley Trees in Somerset, Wisconsin, the Friday after Thanksgiving is proving once again to likely be the busiest day of the year. 

"It’s just so much more magical coming and cutting it down," says Jess Nylin from Woodbury. 

While families like the Nylin’s carry on their tradition, second-generation tree farmer Kate Olson says the impacts of the drought earlier this year will have a bit of a ripple effect for years to come. The focus for several months at her family farm has been on the youngest trees planted for picking in 10-12 Christmases from now.

"Obviously they don’t have a well-developed root system, which means their access to water is less than the trees that are older. So we tend makes sure to really provide some irrigation to the younger trees," says Olson. 

St. Croix Valley Trees in Somerset, Wisconsin

The few trees the farm lost will be replanted. Any change of color isn’t necessarily due the drought, which more than anything, slowed growth a bit. Overall, the trees people are cutting down now are in good shape. 

"In general, you might notice your tree when you cut it this year seems like it might want to take more water," says Olson. "Simply because of the drought."

While there’s been national reports of artificial tree shortages, there are no supply chain issues here. Cutting down a tree from the same spot where it’s grown from a seed is all part of the appeal.

"We’ve watched enough Hallmark movies to know we need to have the full experience ourselves," says Matt Nylin. "Best Black Friday place to go."

St. Croix Valley Trees in Somerset, Wisconsin

Reservations aren't required at St. Croix Valley Tree Farm, but the president of the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association, John Kruger, is requiring reservations at the Kruger’s Christmas Tree farm in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. This weekend following Thanksgiving is fully booked. 

Click here to find some farms where you can cut your own Christmas tree.

St. Croix Valley Trees in Somerset, Wisconsin