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Climate Change Affecting Business At Twin H Tree Farms

Workers bind up Christmas trees at the Twin H Tree Farms in Bloomington.

Workers bind up Christmas trees at the Twin H Tree Farms in Bloomington. (Pat Beane/WTIU)

Jeanne Hopwood has owned the Twin H Tree Farms in Bloomington for four decades. And in that time, she’s seen a lot of changes in the industry.

One of the biggest is due to the warmer weather, and it’s effect on being able to grow trees traditionally used for Christmas.

“I used to wholesale trees,” Hopwood said. “And now I have to bring trees in, because the climates changed; it’s too warm. It was on the border of being too warm to start with, too far south, but it's definitely warmer now.”

Hopwood says she can no longer grow the types of trees that are popular as Christmas trees – the Douglas and Fraser firs and the Scotch and White pines. The summer growing season has been marked by either drought or too much rain, which leaves trees susceptible to fungus.

“I can't really grow anything except Norway spruce,” Hoopwood said. “I can't grow blue spruce or white spruce anymore. It's not gonna go away. The fungus is not going away.”

And while there are trees in the field to be cut, most of the sales at Twin H are pre-cut trees shipped in from Michigan. But that also means more variety of trees.

“Fifteen years ago, 20 years ago, Douglas and Fraser firs were not available to us, because they were not grown in this area,” Hopwood said. “Now, because shipping and such and them growing more trees, they’re more available to us.”

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