Christmas tree farmers are working hard during "Christmas in July"
You may or may not want to hear it, but Christmas is five months away.
The holiday hustle and bustle won't start for a few months, but at Christmas tree farms, they are already busy. It is “Christmas in July” after all.
At Raulston Acres Christmas Tree Farm in Rock Spring, Georgia, the work continues year-round.
They have 16 acres of about 6,000 Christmas trees that need to be treated and trimmed.
They plant 1200 to 1600 trees per year. The trees spend the first 6 months to 1 year in a pot at the property’s nursery. Then, the trees are planted in the field where they grow for 4 years before they are ready for you to take them home for Christmas.
Each year starts with land preparations and tree planting in the fields in January and February.
Then in April to May, fertilizer is spread to help the trees grow. They will grow 1 to 1.5 feet per year.
"The rain that we had this spring really shot the trees up. Even the young ones, they did really well," Dan Raulston, Owner of Raulston Acres Christmas Tree Farm said of the tree growth.
The heat at this time of year creates the biggest concerns of grass growing too high and fungus attacking the trees.
They have to continually mow the grass around the trees.
"By keeping the grass down, that will help to prohibit some of the diseases that the tree might otherwise get if the grass is allowed to grow up," explains Raulston.
Two different types of fungus may affect Raulston Acres’ trees. One attacks a limb here and there. The other will harm the entire tree.
"It actually browns up the bottom of the cypress variety trees, and it will just keep going to the top. And, it will brown that tree completely up," Raulston stated.
A mild fungicide is used as a preventive measure. Raulston said that the fungicide breaks down quickly, and you should not worry about having a treated tree in your home.
During the summer months into September, they also trim the trees. The trimming trains them to grow in the classic Christmas tree shape.
The 4-year-old trees that will be cut down for this year's holidays are growing well and looking great. They are six to eight feet tall.
"They will also do another growth spurt along about late August to early September, so these will look like a very healthy tree that the limbs are strong enough to hold ornaments," confirmed Raulston of this year’s crop.
Besides the classic Christmas smell, a benefit of real trees is that they are a renewable source. For every tree cut down, a farmer usually plants two more.
"When you plant a Christmas tree, it's going to produce oxygen, and it is going to take in carbon dioxide," Raulston said.
An acre of Christmas trees produces 1000 pounds of oxygen per year, which is enough oxygen for 18 people. Accounting for all the acres of Christmas tree farms across the country, oxygen for 18 million people per day is provided.
Raulston Acres Christmas Tree Farm will be opening up on Saturday, November 23rd when you can come and cut down your own tree or purchase a pre-cut one.
Until then, know that they are working hard to make sure the Christmas trees are looking the best for you.