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Christmas tree harvest underway in Wisconsin

Workers harvesting Christmas trees
Jimmy Sadowski
WAOW Television
Workers harvesting Christmas trees

We haven't even hit Thanksgiving yet, but local tree farms are already in full swing with their harvest.

Christmas tree farms like High Ground Tree Farm, LLC in Merrill and at many others around central Wisconsin are in the middle of cutting trees and prepping them to be sold to retailers.

One question you might be having is: did the drought have any affect on the farms or the trees?

Actually, no, and we will not be seeing those effects in the near future.

The drought did not have much of an affect on this year's trees.

"It hasn't affected the larger trees, The larger trees can withstand that pretty good," said High Ground Tree Farm, LLC manager David Black II. "They're a bigger root system and pretty tolerant. We did lose some small plantings. The stuff we planted this spring suffered a lot, but the crop we planted for this year is really good."

High Ground Tree Farm has been in business for over 50 years.

They are primarily wholesalers, but they sell in retail in some suburbs north of Chicago, too.

Christmas trees can take a decade or more to grow before they are sold, so that is about when the drought's effects will be felt.

"Basically, every year we're sold out," said Dennis Carlson of Swan's Christmas Tree Farm in Mosinee. "We've got repeat customers that have been through us or been with us for many many years so it's not like we have any extra surplus or additional trees right now to be able to offer new customers."

Tuesday, for both farms, was a big day for cutting down trees, putting them through the baler, and getting them wrapped up for sale.

Swan's, like High Ground, is primarily a wholesaler too and they are all sold out.

Something new they are doing this holiday season is having two retail locations this year on Black Friday.

One will be at Festival Foods in Marshfield and the other will be at Knowlton House Distillery in Mosinee.

Those trees came from another farm.

"We had a customer that ended up ending his business, so we took over at that opportunity and took his share of the trees and just had another opportunity with the Knowlton House come up, so we're going to do our best to make it work and join the retail market," said Carlson.

Black Friday will be the most popular time to buy trees at retail stores and both David and Dennis said that is when you should head out.

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