Serving McLean, Illinois since 2020

McLean Mail

Christmas Tree Farms

Christmas time is in full swing with the holiday being less than one week away! A key component of most household Christmas decor is a Christmas tree. Christmas trees are connected to agriculture because (if you are looking for a fresh tree), you will likely find yours on or provided by a local Christmas Tree Farm. According to the University of Illinois, “98% of Christmas trees are grown on farms, while only 2% are cut from the wild.” The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the season of winter dates back to before Christ, however the first decorated Christmas tree occurred in 1510 in Riga, Latvia. The Christmas tree has come a long way since 1510. Now, there are about 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees sold throughout the United States. More tree varieties are used for the trees aside from Evergreens. Some other varieties include Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, White Pine, Scotch Pine, Blue Spruce, and more. The Scotch Pine variety is the most common to be grown in Illinois. 

Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington are the top Christmas tree producing states in the country, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Michigan is ranked third for production, but they grow the largest variety of Christmas trees out of any state. Although those states rank in the top 6 in the country, it is important to note that all states in the United States grow real Christmas trees. The first Christmas tree lot for retail was started by Mark Carr in New York in 1851. The average growing time for each individual tree is 7 years, but it can take up to 15 years for a tree to grow. 

There are many good, local options to find a real Christmas tree here in Central Illinois if your household chooses to use a real tree. Talbott’s Christmas Tree Farm is located just outside of Manito, IL and has been in business since 1947. They have over 40 acres of trees to choose from, which consist mainly of Scotch and White Pine. They also sell fresh-cut Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir, and Douglas Fir trees. Talbott’s closes for the season on December 23rd and they only accept cash or checks. One last piece of information about Talbott’s is that they provide tractor-trailer rides on the weekends. Another option to find the perfect tree can be found on West Jefferson Street in Morton, IL. There you will find the highly rated Red Barn Tree Shop. While the shop is not located on a tree farm, they use fresh trees from the farm to fill the rented space. Recent customers had only nice things to say, which included, “Excellent selection… Very courteous owners… takes credit cards… Helps get the tree into the car.” There are lots of tree farms to choose from surrounding the Peoria area if that is closest to you as a reader. If the Bloomington area is closer to you, there is a great option outside of Leroy, IL where you could find the perfect Christmas tree. Real Evergreen is a family-owned tree farm that sells Christmas trees, roping, wreaths, and porch pots. They are open Tuesday-Friday from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Reviews state that the family that owns and operates Real Evergreen are “kind, friendly, and pleasant.”

Once the Christmas season concludes and you are wondering what to do with your real Christmas tree, consider recycling your tree into your garden or backyard. Christmas tree recycling programs are also a popular option used for recycling Christmas trees. The University of Illinois states that “93% of real Christmas tree consumers recycle their trees”. Recycled trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers or have been placed in ponds as fish barriers. 

Chloe Scroggins
Correspondent, Columnist

Chloe Scroggins was a Mail Correspondent covering the Olympia communities starting in March of 2021, and was the Mail Agriculture Columnist from August 2021 until July 2022. She is from Danvers, Illinois.