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A Look at Arkansas’ Christmas Tree Farms

Christmas

by Jeremy Peppas

There’s two choices when it comes to selecting a Christmas tree: artificial or real.

Picking the artificial tree is easy enough. You drive to a store that sells them, you pick the one you like the most and bring it home. It will be in segments that will require some assembly and it doesn’t need tending to as Christmas draws closer.

Or, you can go with a real tree. Traditional, and it doesn’t require reading instructions that can, on occasion, lead to some frustration but it will require some water to keep the tree fresh.

The biggest difference between the two choices is the smell. A real tree brings a fragrance to the room that can’t be beat. And in 2018, 32.8 million people agreed.

That number is the number of real Christmas trees sold last year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

As for Arkansas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture tracks the number of Christmas trees harvested and sold by state and the most recent numbers for the state show that not quite 9,000 trees

The Arkansas Christmas Tree Growers Association lists a total of 15 farms that are members and run from Pea Ridge to Hamburg with spots in central and southwest Arkansas. The one area in Arkansas without a Christas tree farm is the row crop heavy northeast corner.

The association, on its web site, wrote that its “primary function … is to provide an opportunity for continuing education and communication for the membership and to promote the products of its members.”

The association traces its roots back to the 1970s and “at that time Arkansas had less than six farms with Christmas trees growing on them” but landowners were looking for options that would supplement their income and they, “sensed a market for quality, locally grown, fresh Christmas trees.”

Most pine trees at the time grown in Arkansas were Scotch but those interested in growing Christmas trees wanted more information on the Virginia pine.

It worked, an Extension Service study noted, “Arkansas tree farms [are] likely to have Leyland cypress and Virginia Pine.”

The association said its primary goal is “ to provide a quality product and a quality experience for the customers who choose to purchase a fresh Arkansas produced Christmas tree, wreath, garland, or related products.”

Many of the Christmas tree farms in Arkansas provide more bang for your buck as you might have a Santa sighting on the grounds to wagon rides while some also have ornaments for sale.

That’s the case for Motley’s Christmas Tree Farm in Little Rock which claims, “several thousand ornaments to choose from” and a wide variety of trees like the “Carolina Sapphire, Leyland Cypress and Fraser Fir.”

Motley’s is among the farms that let you pick a living tree to be cut down, while also having a variety of trees that are ready to be loaded in your car.

And if you choose to cutdown a tree Motley’s will “supply everything you will need from the saw to the tie-down string.” and they also said, “we also shake, bale, and load your tree for you.”

The shake is important lest you want to also bring home a squirrel or other living critter in the branches on your living tree.

According to the Extension Service, the variety of tree makes a difference.

“Some of the species like the Leyland cypress don’t readily lose their needles, so that’s a plus,” said Tamara Walkingstick, associate director of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center and an extension forester for the Division of Agriculture. “Some like the Eastern Red Cedar have needles that you find in your carpet in June.”

She added, “the freshest [trees] last the longest. That’s why choosing and cutting a live tree can be so rewarding” but, “most pre-cut trees have been sprayed with a desiccant to retain freshness.”

Those looking for other varieties to cut down will be out of luck in Arkansas.

“The other more popular species, such as Fraser fir, don’t grow here,” Walkingstick said. “We do not have the right soil or growing conditions.”

That’s not true for the tree lots where the Fraser fir is available pre-cut and ready to load.

“Most of what we buy here comes from North Carolina where it is a huge crop,” Walkingstick said. “Some of the other species imported for resale here are noble fir, blue spruce and some white pine.”

The other thing to remember with a fresh tree is that stand needs water added to it along with with the occasional misting.

“After a few weeks, it’s going to get dry,” Walkingstick said.”When it’s ready to come down, recycle it … but never, ever burn it in your fireplace.”

 

Arkansas Christmas Tree Farms

Benton

Papa Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm

Paul Warford

4976 Warford Road, Benton

Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Also sold during the week by appointment)

501-779-1062

 

Bismarck

McAlpine Christmas Tree Farm

Harold and Bobbie McAlpine

197 Christmas Tree Lane, Bismarck

Open 7 days a week, daylight to dark.

501-865-3731

 

Charleston

Pine Grove Christmas Tree Farms

Greg and Betty Eckart

2919 Yocum St. Charleston

Monday – Friday, 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

479-965-4428 or 479-965-4826

 

Fordyce

Tidwell Christmas Tree Farm

John Tidwell

3404 Calhoun 162, Fordyce

Open Saturday and Sunday, call 870-352-7371 for hours

870-352-7371

 

Forrest City

New Castle Farms

Kevin Vandiver

7596 Hwy. 284, Forrest City

Monday – Friday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

870-630-0607

 

Hamburg

Old Milo Tree Farms

Brad and Lonni Davis

604 Ashley 485, Hamburg

Monday – Friday, 1 p.m. until dark

Saturday, 10 a.m. until dark

Sundays, 1 p.m. until dark

870-853-2379

 

Jacksonville

Geisler’s Holiday Forest

Jim and Ella Geisler

8817 Dorsey Road, Jacksonville

Saturday, 9 a.m. to dark

Sunday, 1 p.m. to dark (Also sold during the week by appointment)

501-224-3797

 

Little Rock

Motley’s Tree Farm

Randy Motley

13724 Sandy Ann Drive, Little Rock

Monday-Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

501-888-1129

 

Lonoke

Schilling’s Family Christmas Tree Farm

1476 Hwy. 294, Lonoke

Monday – Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m.

Thursday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

501-982-1046

 

Mabelvale

Bradbury Tree Farm

Rickey Bradbury

9427 Donna Lane, Mabelvale

Monday – Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

501-602-2449

 

Ozark

Christmas Tree Lane

Jim Lane

8102 South Hwy. 23, Ozark

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

479-667-8412

E-Mail:

 

Paris

Johnson Christmas Tree Farm

Thomas & ReeNita Johnson

3267 South State Hwy. 309, Paris

Saturday, 10 a.m. to dark

Sunday, 1 p.m. to dark (Also sold during the week by appointment)

479-963-3616

 

Pea Ridge

Wonderland Tree Farm

Martin and Jill Babb

14821 Miser Road, Pea Ridge,

Tuesday-Friday, 2 p.m. to dark

Saturday, 9 a.m. to dark

Sunday, noon to dark

479- 212-2964

 

Romance

Romance Christmas Tree Farm

Kevin and Janet Newcom

1260 Hwy 5 North, Romance

Monday – Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

501-556-5173

 

Rudy

Lollis Christmas Tree Farm

W. L. (Buddy) and Connie Lollis

2817 Zora Chapel Drive, Rudy

Sunday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

479-474-2102

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