Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree

By: Lisa Blackwell Email
By: Lisa Blackwell Email

The look and the smell of a fresh tree; for some people, there's nothing like it. And, everyone has his or her favorite kind.

At the Back Home Christmas Tree Farm, they grow three varieties that flourish in the climate of the southeast; the Virginia Pine, the Leland Cypress and the Carolina Sapphire.

“Because of our climate we can't grow things like Frazier Firs, Douglas Firs, Blue Spruce. We have too warm a climate to grow those, so we grow stuff that will take the heat,” says David Johnson, with the Back Home Christmas Tree Farm.

Farmers really have to go out on a limb to protect the trees from dry conditions.

“If we can get them a couple of years old they develop a root system, they can withstand some drought. But the first couple of years we lose a lot of trees,” says Johnson.

It takes about five years for a tree to grow five feet and be tall enough to sell.

Every year, they plant 300 to 500 trees. The farm has 3000 trees in different stages of growth.

Some customers say that they'd like to start a tree farm of their own. The Johnson's say if you want to do that be prepared for a lot of hard work.

In fact, tree farming is a year round job. Planting starts in January with ground preparation and fertilization. In March, they start spraying insecticides. Trees are trimmed in April and July.

“Virginia Pines, the Nantucket Titmoth lay eggs in the new growth and when they lay those eggs, that kills that shoot,” says Johnson.

In October, trees are sprayed with a green colorant to help them hold moisture and to preserve their color.

And, on windy days, workers turn a little green themselves.

But hey, it's all worth it in November and December when the fruits of their labor head home with happy holiday shoppers.

The Virginia Pine is the most popular tree because it has stronger limbs that will hold heavier ornaments.

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