Christmas tree update - Spring 2017
We're planning ahead for the pick-your-own christmas tree season!
For us, growing the best Christmas trees for the good people of Leeds is a year-round job! With trees only growing at around one foot per year, it can take around eight years for an average Norway Spruce to mature. This means we have christmas trees of all different sizes growing on the farm, all at different stages of growth, to look after.
One of the jobs in spring is to treat all the trees with micro-nutrients and insecticides to firstly keep them healthy and secondly to keep the greenfly at bay. It’s hard to believe but without doing this, these tiny insects can quite easily strip or ‘defoliate’ entire trees! Another species that loves eating tree-bark is sheep, but luckily we know a thing or two about this and do as many christmas tree growers do and keep Shropshire sheep on the farm. This breed, for some reason, is 'tree-safe' and will keep the grass and weeds at bay in the christmas tree plantation without damaging the tree bark. We have around 25 ewes roaming the plantation who have just finished lambing. The downside of the Shropshire breed is that they normally only have one lamb as opposed to the more usual 'twins', but we had quite a few twins this season so we're very pleased!
We have found that the 'cut-your-own' or 'pick-your-own' experience is definitely growing in popularity and over the last couple of months we have constructed a woodland walk from Home Farm to the Christmas tree field, in readiness for December. This is a lovely curved trail for families to walk up when they visit us to choose their perfect tree. Of course, we'll still have the popular tractor and trailer rides throughout the season for those smaller (or older) legs!