Families flock to forest farms, owners worry about long-term supply


ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) – People celebrating Christmas in a few weeks may already be looking for the right tree for their home. But nursery and tree farm owners are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of the industry in western Michigan.

Brian Bosch with Bosch Countryview Nursery in Allendale says time has driven his business to pastures that are less green than before.

They try to plant 4,000 to 5,000 saplings each spring, but he says dry summer conditions in Ottawa County have dried up his wells, forcing him to lose a few thousand for several years.

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

“If more than a week goes by without rain, we have to get them water,” Bosch said. “But if you have too much rain, they can also drown very quickly. “

Last week a A farmer in the subsidy zone told News 8 the recession of a decade ago slowed planting on his property, which ultimately led to fewer trees now after enough time has passed for full growth.

Despite the indeterminate nature of long-term supply, 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 company.

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

“It’s awesome,” Rosskamp said. “We love to see all the locals here for sure.”

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

“I love Christmas and the people here seem to be really nice,” Westra said.

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