FARM VISIT TIPS
Some tips for your family's visit to a local choose and harvest farm.
- Most tree farms keep their fields very well groomed, but there are some things that are beyond the farmer’s control. Be careful of fire-ant mounds, tree stumps, an occasional blackberry vine, uneven ground and sharp saws.
- Go to the farm prepared for a day in the country. Wear comfortable shoes and old clothes. Bring rain gear if the weather is threatening. The “cutter downers” and the “loader uppers” should also have gloves. Don’t forget the camera. It’s best to leave “Rover” at home (many farms will prohibit pets). But, if a pet is allowed and must come along, keep him on a leash at all times. Please don’t let him “mark” other people’s trees.
- Saws are usually provided by the farm operator.
- Some farms measure and price their trees individually, others sell them by the foot. Ask about the pricing policy before heading out in the field.
- Head into the field and select the tree that fits your predetermined needs. Check the trunk to be sure that it is sufficiently straight. Keep in mind that pines will usually have, at least, some crook in their trunks. Also check that the tree has a sufficiently long handle to accommodate your stand.
- In the fall of the year all pines drop, or shed, a certain portion of their oldest needles. This is a normal part of the life cycle of the tree. This phenomena occurs because the tree is preparing itself for winter. Most farms provide shaking or blowing services so that you will depart with a perfectly clean pine.
- Cutting the tree is easiest as a two person project. The “cutter downer” usually lies on the ground while the helper holds the bottom limbs up. While the cut is being made, the helper should tug on the tree lightly to ensure that the saw kerf remains open so that the saw does not bind. The tugging force should be applied to the side of the tree opposite the cut. A back cut should be made first with the final cut coming from the opposite side.
- Bring the tree to the processing area where it will be cleaned and netted. Netting makes transporting and handling the tree substantially easier.
- When you are checking out, remember to pick up a tree removal bag if available. It can be used as a tree skirt and then pulled up around the tree to help keep the floors clean when the tree is being taken down.
- Now that you and your family have chosen that perfect tree it’s time to bring it home. Cover your tree with a tarp or plastic for the trip home to keep it from drying out.