Our trees grow in several locations on the farm. Some are obvious: the Front, Back and Hill fields (pretty clever, huh?). Other sites are nestled away in the woods and we created several "islands" of trees as you head towards the Back Field.
Road to Grandma's
You'll find all of our species in the front field: Canaan and Concolor firs; White and Scotch pines; and Blue, Norway, Serbian and Black Hills spruces. Most of the trees ready for 2016 harvest are in rows G-M, although some taller ones can be found throughout the field.
This field has a nice view from the top, and a fun run down the backside, through some new trees and heading towards the pond! White Pine; and Black Hills, White and Norway spruces are growing here. The lower section, near the pond and at the edge of the pond, are ready for the 2016 harvest. A few White Pine are ready in the upper portion, but most of those will see optimum height in 2017 and 2018..
Our one True North-facing slope! Wrapping around the hill on the back side of the Hill Field, a path takes you below our newest field. We're planting Canaan and Balsam fir here and they should be ready by 2020. The few White Pine will be ready in 2017. Watch your step!
In 2010, we cleared out this field of all the old trees and completely re-did the row layout. We're pretty excited about this field as everything we have learned through trial and error, and experimentation, in the Front Field, and then tested in the Hill Field, is now being applied in the Back Field. From 2011 to 2013, we re-established rows, installed dripline irrigation and used the right species for the lay of the field and soil type. Serbian and Norway spruces dominate this field, with a few Majestic Blue Spruce at the top to deter the deer. A few White Pine and Cedar trees are planted to add a little variety, These trees should be ready starting in 2018.
Your Choices of Trees
We have tried to grow a variety of trees to suit most tastes. Long or short needles, soft or sharp, dense or open ... We hope you will find something here to meet your desires.
What does it take to grow these trees? We're glad you asked! Check out the rest of the story on what goes into having a Christmas tree ready for your next Christmas holiday season.
Here's our current selection:
Canaan Fir (sometimes referred to as the "West Virginia Balsam" because of its wonderful fragrance). These trees look great, and have a nice deep green to them and a beautiful shape. Fortunately for John, they need little shaping. They have done well in our fields and we found they "prefer" a Northern exposure. So, most of these seedlings went to the upper half of the Front Field.
The Front Field in early Summer -- Before shaping ... or mowing ... :)
Concolor Fir (these are suppose to have a citrusy fragrance). We didn't get these until 2008 and they didn't get out to the fields until 2010. Right now, they look more like a bush ... but we were told to wait until they are four feet and then start shaping them. With bud break this year (2015), they are starting to look pretty good. They don't seem to do well here, so we won't be planting any more of them.
Balsam Fir (already told you about these in the East Woods). We actually got the seedlings in 2010 and they survived the seedling bed, which was encouraging. It prompted us to keep most them in the woods but we moved a few to the Road to G'mas. So far, we haven't lost any of them. The East Woods is a pretty site with the dark brown leaves, and the dark green from the trees and azeleas. In
All these choices and then comes the big question -- "What about needle retention?" You can search the Internet (Ohio State University is a very good resource) and you will get a LOT of answers. But the only thing we've found that works for sure is amazingly simple...
With a fresh-cut tree, as long as you keep it watered and do not let the water get below the cut, your Christmas tree will easily hold its needles through the holidays.
One customer had her tree up until Valentine's Day because she wanted us to come see it (it was our first chance to get away). Sure enough, not only did it look great, had all its needles but it also had new growth on the fireplace side of the tree! She kept it watered for sure!
We wondered about bringing it back to the farm to see if we could get it to grow new roots! This was one tenacious tree!
the spring when the azeleas bloom, the dogwood have their flowers and the new growth (bright green) appear on the firs, it's quite a site to behold.
Norway Spruce. Our "Ole Reliable." Most of the spruces you see on the farm are Norway Spruce -- the classic standard Christmas tree generations of families have enjoyed. They have good shape and retain their needles well after cutting. Over the years, we've been pleased to hear from our customers how well these trees have done for them. They do well here and respond nicely to a little shaping.
Majestic Blue Spruce (very blue!). We thought we'd try this out. The Majestic provides more "blue" in the tree compared to a Colorado or regular Blue. This has been our first year to really notice it since they went out to the Front Field in 2010 and are a good size. All the Blue Spruces have a sky-blue color with the new growth in the Spring. When they harden off by Summer's end, most retain a hint of blue. The Majestic stays blue.
Serbian Spruce (our new "apartment tree"). This tree sounded promising to us, so in 2008, we got a bunch of them! They went into the fields in 2010. They have a great shape and are not real bushy - great when you want a tall tree that doesn't take up half your living room. Some of our original Norway Spruces that were growing on the Hill Field had a similar shape but that was because they needed more water and nutrients. We found some of our customers liked a slim tree ... so we went on the hunt and found the Serbian! We were careful not to plant the Serbians next to the Austrian Pines in the seedling bed!
Black Hills Spruce (a hardy tree). We thought we'd try some of these in 2009 and they looked so good after just one year in the seedling bed, we got twice as many for 2010! It may grow a little slower than the others BUT it can take wind, heat, cold, drought and crowding and it likes ordinary soil! So, these you'll see dotting the farm here and there.
Scotch Pine. We put out 50 of these in the fields the winter of 2012. We had such a problem previously with different varieties of Scotch Pine getting a fungus that destroyed the trees. This variety was introduced recently and it has a fungus-resistant capability. So far so good - especially given how muggy it is during the Summer. Hopefully, they will work out as a Scotch Pine does make a pretty Christmas tree.
White Pine. Ah, the state tree of Maine (the Pine Tree State!) -- but the funny thing is that very few Mainers actually will use a White Pine for a Christmas tree. And why should they? Balsam Firs grow like weeds there. Anyway, the White is a long overlooked tree now starting to get credit for being an excellent Christmas tree. With a beautiful shape, strong branches and long, soft and luxurious needles with good retention, the White Pine makes a very nice christmas tree.
Copyright 2017 Friendship Forest
Friendship Forest Christmas Tree Farm
41370 Friendship Ct.
Mechanicsville, MD 20659