Christmas tree stands open for business

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(Host) Many of Vermont’s Christmas tree stands opened over the weekend, and growers say they’re expecting a good year.

Cheryl Werner of Werner Tree Farm in Middlebury says this year growers have five weekends instead of four to sell trees. Werner says people are buying earlier, and they’re going for fir trees.

(Werner) "When we first started out we were planting a lot of Scotch pine, all over the county. Most of those growers did one rotation, and quit. We switched over from the Scotch pine, to the Balsam fir. That was a trend, a lot of people were buying a scotch pine. They tried it a couple years and went back to the firs."

(Host) The Department of Agriculture says there are 360 Christmas tree growers in Vermont. Around 150,000 trees are grown on 4,600 acres. And trees, wreaths and boughs grown in the state have a value of over $10 million.

Cheryl Werner says it’s a year round business that takes time. The trees can take over a decade to reach the height most people prefer.

(Werner) "We spend a lot of time in the summer. We mow them, we shear them, we fertilize them, do some weed control. So the trees have to be taken care of all summer long. In the fall, we obviously wait until Thanksgiving time, and we harvest them."

(Host) Werner says if a live tree is kept in water, it will last from now until well into January.

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