Christmas tree farmers predict strong season

This article by Patricia LeBoeuf originally appeared Dec. 2 in the Bennington Banner.

“That’s what Christmas smells like.”

That’s how Steve Bennett, owner of Bennett’s Tree Farm in Bennington, describes the scent of his balsam fir trees.

“If you look at the needles — the needles are kind of long and flat,” he said as he examined a cut tree in the yard on his farm one recent snowy afternoon.

Frasier firs, the other kind of trees he grows, have rounder needles, that are more blue on the underside. They’re the Cadillac of Christmas trees, he said.

“They’re a Southern tree, and they do really well,” he said.

This is a busy time of year for Bennett, who sells about 200 trees a year and also makes his own maple syrup. He’s owned the farm for 30 years, and has been growing trees since about 2001. This year, his tree season started the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

“It hasn’t been bad,” he said. “It’s one of those things you kind of build into.” The first and second weekends in December are usually the busiest. But this year looks promising, thanks to a good growing season.

“A late frost is bad, but we didn’t get any this year,” he said. “We had some good growth on the trees.” Trees grow in the spring; the buds are usually starting to open by late April.

Shearing the trees — a process that’s like trimming — depends on the farmer, but Bennett does his in July and August, usually. But even with good growth, every year is a challenge.

Read full story at the Bennington Banner.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Madereugeneandrew

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