Balsam bough-nanza

Did you ever wonder where all those Christmas wreaths come from? Well, the Northland’s forest is the easy answer. In Minnesota alone, about 1,700 tons of balsam boughs are harvested each autumn, usually by cutting lower branches to let the tree keep growing.

At about 400 wreaths per ton, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, that’s 680,000 wreaths! Most of those boughs are harvested in northern Minnesota public and private lands, with Itasca, St. Louis, Aitkin and Cass counties leading the way. There are an estimated $30 million in balsam boughs sold each holiday season and that doesn’t include the sale of 9 million pine cones and other decorative items, like pine swags and spruce tree tops.

Bough harvesters generally pay a small fee each year to harvest on public lands.

Now you know.