Ag Life: Christmas tree farms open for season

Ag Life

As Thanksgiving has come and gone, many Christmas tree farms and businesses opened for the season this weekend.

With workers getting trees ready for decorating, the holiday season is officially in full swing at Hamill Christmas Tree Farm in Roanoke. Customers were pouring in on Sunday to pick the perfect tree.

“I like the ones with a little personality, something with a little funny shape to it,” said Kimberly Butterfield, a customer. 

Butterfield said she always likes to pick out her Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving – a tradition she has continued with her husband and daughter.

“It’s our daughter’s second Christmas, but the first with her being up and able to walk around and stuff, so [we] just wanted to kind of give her that experience,” she said. 

Hamill Christmas Tree Farm opens the day after Thanksgiving, but according to John Hamill, the farm’s owner, there is always some interest before Turkey Day.

“We had someone the weekend after the election, actually, and he came and got a tree,” he said. “He was tired of the election.”

Hamill’s farm has sold pre-cut and choose-and-cut Christmas trees for more than 40 years. The weekend after Thanksgiving has become one of his farm’s busiest weekends, he said. 

“It used to be the two middle weekends were the busiest, and increasingly it’s the first two weekends that are the busiest,” Hamill explained. 

Hamill’s farm grows several varieties of trees across nine acres. Preparing for the season happens all year round, he said, always starting in January.

“We’ll start to prepare to plant, and then planting is February to May,” Hamill said. “We have to prune from late June into September.”

“It’s important for us to all be part of our local community and give support to especially this family right here in our own city,” Butterfield said. 

Hamill suggests once you have taken your Christmas tree home, you should make sure there is a fresh cut on the bottom, and check the tree’s water daily to make sure the water level never gets below the cut. 

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