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Christmas trees in good supply and beautiful shape this year, say growers

From balsam trees to freshly baked cookies and holly berry candles - there are so many scents that can spark our holiday memories.

For some, the purchase of a freshly cut Christmas tree represents the start of the holidays and Minnesota's Christmas tree growers say they have an abundance of beautiful, real trees available this holiday season.

About 500,000 trees are expected to be harvested this season by just over 500 Minnesota tree farmers.

Real Christmas trees are offered at 'choose-and-cut' tree farms or at retail lots selling fresh-cut trees. Choose-and-cut farms offer families with more than just a fresh-cut tree; they are treated to a wonderful experience that often becomes a long lasting tradition.

Many farms offer visits with Santa, wagon rides, walks through forests, and specialty wreaths made to order while you wait. At retail lots, Minnesota tree farmers have already cut and bailed the trees, so all the customer has to do is pick one out.

During their growing years, Christmas trees provide many benefits to the environment. The trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases, helping to fight global warming, and in return release oxygen into the air. One acre of Christmas trees produces the daily oxygen intake for about 18 people.

Christmas trees are also 100 percent biodegradable, unlike artificial trees, which eventually find a resting place in landfills. Another environmental benefit is the use of the land. Christmas trees are often farmed on land that would otherwise be subject to erosion if farmed with other crops.

The work isn't finished when the trees are harvested. For every tree harvested in the fall, Christmas tree farmers plant on average two to three seedlings the following spring. Local choose-and-cut farms and grower-owned retail lots can be found in the free Minnesota Grown online directory at or request a free printed copy by calling the answer-line at 1-800-657-3878.

Tips for keeping trees fresh throughout the holiday season can be found on the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association Web site at