By Wendy Holdren
The West Virginia Division of Forestry is asking state residents to consider purchasing a West Virginia-grown tree from a “Choose-and-Cut” Christmas Tree Farm this holiday season.
The Division of Forestry says while these trees are growing on the farms, they stabilize the soil, protect water quality, and provide cover for wildlife.
The Christmas trees also absorb carbon dioxide while emitting fresh oxygen, and can be easily recycled after the holidays.
A Christmas tree farmer in Mercer County, Gene Bailey, has been working with Christmas trees since the 1950s.
He got his start in Princeton, but now operates Bluestone Nursery, located at 3517 Stovall Ridge Road in Camp Creek.
“We have trees, trees with roots for replanting, wreaths and other plants,” Bailey said.
“The main benefit is the tradition of cutting your own tree. You know it’s fresh.”
He said many families participate in the tradition of coming to the farm, selecting a tree, and cutting it down. Some of them spend hours on the farm searching for the perfect tree.
Last year, a total of 1,100 trees were harvested. Bailey said for every tree harvested, three trees are replanted, and it usually takes a total of 11 or 12 years for a tree to reach 7 feet.
“We probably sell 80 to 85 trees every Saturday.”
He strongly encourages families to opt for a real Christmas tree this year instead of purchasing an artificial one.
“We’re promoting ‘buy local.’ No artificial trees are made in the U.S. That’s a big carbon footprint for manufacturing and transport.”
He said the trees are completely biodegradable, and are a much more eco-friendly option. The look and smell of a real tree is also a plus, he added.
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Want to cut your own tree?
- Bluestone Nursery is open from Thanksgiving through Christmas from 9 a.m. until dark. For more information, call Gene Bailey at 304-887-1183.
Some other local Christmas tree farms:
- Crickmer Farms
1635 Crickmer Road, Danese, 304-484-7661
- Honey Suckle Glades Farm,
2 Grafton Farm Road, Lookout, 304-574-0906
- Yagel Poor Farm,
726 Eureka Road, Craigsville, 304-872-0956
- Piney Tree Farm,
303 Piney View Drive, Piney View, 304-253-6842
- Richmond Tree Farm,
984 Old Pluto Road, Pluto/Bragg, 304-763-3481
Keep it safe
The Division of Forestry offers the following tips to keep a real Christmas tree from becoming a fire hazard:
1. Cut at least one inch off the main stem, place the tree in a clean pail of warm water and put it in a cool, shaded area where it is protected from wind and sun.
2. When ready to bring the tree into your home, make another cut of at least one inch off the main stem and place the tree into a water-filled stand as quickly as possible. A bucket of sand and water may also be used in place of a stand. It is important to maintain a suitable water level at all times.
3. Dispose of your tree properly as soon as the holiday season is over. Never attempt to burn a live Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. This can be very dangerous.