For Christmas tree growers in Oklahoma, the weeks leading up to the holiday are like one big winter festival.
“It’s a pretty good business,” says Harold Weaver, owner of W6 Pines Christmas Tree Farm in Choctaw and president of the Oklahoma Christmas Tree Association (OCTA).
“We start selling the day after Thanksgiving, and we’re usually open until the day before Christmas. We enjoy it.”
Weaver’s farm, which sells between 425 and 450 Virginia pine trees from his field each year and another 50 or so precut Frasier firs from elsewhere, is among 15 locations in 11 Oklahoma counties that are part of OCTA. Most are relatively small operations selling “choose and cut” native trees, such as Virginia or Scotch pines, but there are also larger farms with more options.
The Sorghum Mill Christmas Tree and Blackberry Farm in Edmond, for instance, grows eight varieties of trees and sells five types of precut ones.
Weaver and his wife Jane entered the Christmas tree business around 1987 after planting several Virginia pines, and by the time he had retired from his full-time job as an electrical engineer in 1995, the trees were ready to harvest.
“I just had seven or eight acres where grass wouldn’t grow much, so I decided to plant Christmas trees,” he says.
The Weavers got a good bit of guidance from OCTA, which they joined after launching their business. Members are eager to help new growers, and they help and learn from each other.
The Christmas tree business requires continuous maintenance, from controlling pests and fungi to keeping the trees pruned and irrigated.
“If you want to have good-looking trees,” he says, “you have to spend a good bit of time with them.”