By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For many families, it’s an annual tradition — cutting down a Christmas tree at the same place year after year.

Often, people will pass the little trees as they head to the big ones. So, how are Christmas trees grown? Good Question.

There are 120 Christmas tree farms in Minnesota. Many of them are family businesses. At Krueger’s Christmas Trees in Lake Elmo, four generations are working on the 35-year-old farm.

“All the trees start from a seed,” says Deb Krueger. “It takes 10 years to get a six foot tree.”

The “baby” trees will spend two years in a local nursery bed followed by another year in a transplant bed before being shipped to Krueger’s.

Each year, they plant between 5,000 and 6,000 3-year-old trees across several one-acre plots of land.

Once the trees in that plot are cut during the Christmas season, Neil Krueger, Deb’s husband, will prepare and plow the soil while Deb tills.

“And then we have a whole crew, friends and family and whatever and we replant,” she says.

They always rotate the type of tree to avoid monoculture soil and usually don’t have many trees left unsold at the end of the season.

“We have it down to a science,” says Deb.

Heather Brown