Growing Christmas trees is a year ‘round job; happy buyers a number one priority

(Pictured is Pat Blissenbach with some of the short-needled trees that seem to be the popular choice for Christmas tree shoppers this year. Staff photo by Lisa Wimmer)

“So many of them don’t survive,” Pat said of the seedlings they plant each year. “We’ve had a lot of drought years when we lost a lot of trees,” Pat said. “Frost burn damages one whole side of a tree; we’ve lost trees to that.”

“The gophers have always got to eat some,” John added.

“Farming Christmas trees has all the challenges of other types of farming – you’re always fighting with Mother Nature and the elements,” said Pat.

Evergreen grown at JB Tree Farm include pine, fir and spruce. Each species contains its own popular varieties and each “keep” in the house with varying degrees of success.

“The longer the needle, the longer the tree will last in the house,” Pat explained.

Long needle varieties include Norway, Scotch and White Pines. Firs, including the Balsam, Frazier and Canaan, keep second in length of time. Spruce, including Blue, Green, Black Hills and White, are the shortest lived once brought into the house, according to Pat.

“Spruce trees make beautiful Christmas trees, but they’ll strip right down to the trunk in about one and one half to two weeks,” Pat said.

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