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Christmas trees standing tall

Mississippi Christmas tree growers will probably see their sales increase again this year as more people stay home to celebrate the holidays.

Trees at the Swedenburg Christmas Tree Farm in Columbus appear to be in good shape for the 2009 holiday season. Many Mississippi growers expect sales to increase because of travel cutbacks and plans to stay home.

Current economic problems have forced many people to tighten their budgets, resulting in less travel. Families who stay home still want a festive celebration, and natural Christmas trees offer a traditional touch.

“When the downturn hit last year, people did not travel, which gave them time to plan an old- fashioned holiday with a traditional tree,” said area forestry specialist Stephen Dicke of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “When people travel less, Christmas tree sales usually go up.”

Some younger growers have added pick-your-own pumpkin patches and corn mazes to extend their marketing season. Mississippi’s pumpkin crop brought customers to the farms where they noticed the Christmas trees, and they indicated they would return to buy trees.

The trees that will be available are shaping up well, and they had more than enough rainfall to develop beautiful, green foliage and adequate size.

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