Families flock to tree farms, owners grow concerned over long-term supply

Ottawa County

ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — People celebrating Christmas in a few weeks may already be on the hunt to find the right tree for their home. But nursery and tree farm owners have growing concerns on how sustainable the industry can be in West Michigan.

Brian Bosch with Bosch’s Countryview Nursery in Allendale says the weather led his business to pastures not as green as before.

They try to plant 4,000 to 5,000 saplings every spring, but he explains the dry summer conditions in Ottawa County dried up his wells, forcing him to lose a couple thousand for several years.

Bosch also says it further complicates the water sensitivity for their most popular type of tree — firs — which make up at least 80% of their fields.

“If it goes past a week with no rain, we have to get water to them,” Bosch said. “But if you get too much rain, they can drown real quick too.”

Last week, a Grant-area farmer told News 8 the recession from a decade ago slowed down planting on his property, eventually leading to not as many trees now after adequate time passed for full growth.

Despite how undetermined the supply will look in the long term, the demand through Bosch’s business continues to grow. Bosch says at least 1,000 trees are sold on Black Friday alone, making it the busiest day of the year for the business.

Visitor Sandy Rosskamp says she enjoys recognizing familiar faces and meeting new ones on the property.

“It’s awesome,” Rosskamp said. “We love seeing all the people here from the neighborhood for sure.”

Sarah Westra and her twin siblings agree, adding the hospitality brings even more joy to the already festive season.

“I like Christmastime and the people here seem to be really friendly,” Westra said.

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