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Growing Christmas trees is a year-round job

TRI-COUNTY AREA—There is nothing quite like a real Christmas tree.
Now, if you decide to buy a live tree, you might not know the work, almost year-round at tree lots, that goes into ensuring there are plenty of evergreen trees to pick from. Bill Mourey, an employee at Buttonwood Tree Farm in Reading Center, said the first thing that happens is removing the stumps from cut down trees. After that, things get busy again in the spring.
Bob Taylor, owner of Scottish Glen Tree Farm in Dundee, said new trees are planted in the spring. He said he plants about 1,000 new pine trees each year. Mourey estimated he plants around 3,000 at Buttonwood. Once planted, though, those trees won’t be ready as a Christmas tree for about eight years.
To protect the trees from diseases, pines are also sprayed in the spring. Mourey added they spray to kill weeds as well. Taylor said he also sprays grass killer in the fall, in preparation of the new trees that next spring. He explained he kills the grass in places he will plant the trees.
Mowing will also take care of the grass and weeds. Mourey said they mow between six and eight times total. Taylor said he does the last mowing in the fall. Mowing is also done so people do not have to walk through high grass when looking for a tree,
He added that he also has to cull the trees in the spring by removing the dead or dying ones. He explained that Christmas tree lots purchase so many new trees in the spring to account for the ones that will die.
The next step is geared towards giving the trees the right shape. Taylor said the pine trees have to be trimmed. He explained otherwise the trees will look shaggy and it helps them grow nice and thick. He added at Scottish Glen he does the trees by section, with the spruces first and the firs last. Mourey said by August Buttonwood trims the trees.
Taylor said one thing he cannot protect the trees from are bucks coming into the lot and rubbing their antlers on the trees. He said not only does it kill branches, but if a buck rubs enough it will kill the tree.
“It takes a lot of work,” said Mourey about the whole process.




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