The Christmas season is almost upon us and here, at Cork Christmas Tree Farm, we’ve been busy harvesting the trees that will soon adorn your home for your holiday celebrations.
If you’ve ever visited a Christmas tree farm before, you know firsthand how pretty everything is displayed. Everything is neat and specifically designed to help make your tree selection a breeze. But have you ever wondered what it took to get them on display? Harvesting a Christmas tree is the process of cutting it down, either by the farmer themselves or by customers if they’re visiting a “choose-and-cut” farm. While the technique of cutting down a tree seems simple enough, you’d be surprised by how much goes into it.
Continue reading to find out what’s involved in harvesting a Christmas tree in Ireland.
The Best Time to Cut Down a Christmas Tree
When it comes to harvesting Christmas trees for the holiday season, it’s important not to cut them down too early. Our harvesting season begins around late November and runs through mid-December, so each tree will last throughout the festive season. Most Christmas trees’ needle retention lasts an average of 4 weeks, which is why harvesting happens when it does. Cutting them down too early could result in dead trees and yuletide dread (ba humbug). A technique to help Christmas trees last longer is by leaving the tree on the ground before leaving the plantation for a few days. This helps the shell of the tree harden.
What Do You Need to Harvest a Christmas Tree?
Harvesting a Christmas tree requires the following tools and items. Farmers need to wear gloves and often use a handsaw or chainsaw to cut the trees down. We also require the use of certain machineries, such as balers.
For harvesting the following tools and equipment are used:
- A handsaw or chainsaw to cut the tree down
- Gloves and other protection to protect to prevent injury
- Physical labour to haul the trees out of the plantation
- Loadall to lift very tall trees over 20ft.
- Netting machines to wrap the trees for transportation
When it comes to harvesting Christmas trees, there are four main steps involved in the process:
- Grading – Analysing the trees to ensure they are fresh, clean, and healthy. A grading system allows tree farmers to establish tiers of Christmas trees, from those having minimal defects to none at all.
- Cutting – After a tree has been graded and determined to be good for personal use, they are cut with a saw. Farmers will quickly cut the tree low to the ground. After the tree is cut down, it’s shaken and hauled out to its nearest road.
- Baling – This is the process of wrapping the tree up so it’s safe for transport. Oftentimes, Christmas tree farms will use what’s known as a tree baler, which slides the tree through a funnel to compress the branches and then wrapping them up with either rope or ties. This helps to protect the integrity of the tree and make it easier to attach to your vehicle to bring home.
- Hauling – Once the tree is cut and tied up, whether by yourself or through the use of a tree baler, it’s time to haul it away. If you have a truck, all you have to do is slide it in the back and lay it down. But, if you have a car, it’s recommended that you have roof racks for optimal transport. If you don’t have roof racks, place the tree on top of your car’s roof, slide rope around the tree, and through your car windows to make sure it’s securely fastened.
What Should I Do When I Get Home?
Once you bring your newly harvested tree back home, it’s recommended that you make a 1” slice off the bottom of the trunk to help it absorb water and nutrients. Always remember that freshly cut trees should be placed in lukewarm water as soon as possible. This is because warmer water will help the tree absorb the nutrients a lot faster than cold. Please note that you don’t have to continually use lukewarm water, just the first time you place the tree in the stand.
Celebrate the Holidays With Cork Christmas Tree Farm
With the holiday season drawing near, Cork Christmas Tree Farm can help you find the best selection to help you celebrate. We are a choose-and-cut farm located in Cork and carry an assortment of different Christmas trees, including Nordmann Fir and Noble Fir. We have over twenty years of experience growing Christmas trees and use sustainable methods to help them flourish. If you’re ready to find and harvest your own Christmas tree, visit Cork Christmas Tree Farm here. We’re here to help!