News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 30, 2013

Christmas tree sales take root

Wreaths also popular items; local farms see high turnout

TERRE HAUTE — Sales of Christmas trees have gotten off to a festive start for two local cut-your-own businesses.

Star Tree Farm near West Terre Haute and Holiday Hill Christmas Tree Farm south of Terre Haute both report booming business of freshly cut firs and pines.

“This year is fantastic!” said Doug Miller of Holiday Hill. “Sales are doing great.”

His family-run business began selling trees on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and he said he plans to be sold out of trees by the next weekend. He grew about 600 trees for sale this year, and brought in an additional 300 trees, for an expected sales season of 900 trees.

“We had a good opening day yesterday,” said David Brentlinger of Star Tree Farm on Saturday. “Maybe the best first day ever.”

Brentlinger said that sales of his handmade Christmas wreaths are also going well.

“About everybody who picks a tree also picks a wreath or two,” he said. “I make them mostly with plant material and items that I grow, or out of things that I can go into the woods and get.”

According to the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association, Indiana ranks 11th in the nation as a Christmas tree-producing state, with federal statistics showing more than 200 Hoosier tree farms growing about 200,000 harvestable trees every year.

Several small businesses throughout the Wabash Valley will be selling cut trees in the days leading up to the Christmas holiday.

Miller said it is important to select a fresh tree and water it after it is decorated.

“Our trees are in good shape this year,” he said, noting that last year’s drought hurt the seedlings planted, but this past year has been better for tree growth. “With Thanksgiving so late this year, Christmas will be here before we know it. These trees should last well.”

Last year, many Christmas tree farms around Indiana felt the negative result of a lack of rainfall. Brentlinger said this year has been a bit short as well, but the trees have recovered from last year’s drought. His fir trees have done extremely well with growth in the past year.

“It’s been a good year this year,” Brentlinger said. But, “you always lose a few trees.”

Perhaps the best thing about the seasonal businesses is seeing the joy among the families who come to cut their own trees.

“It’s great to watch the families with their kids, from birth until they’re grown up, and then they bring their own kids,” said Brentlinger, who has had the tree farm for more than 20 years.

“I like to take photographs of the families, and I always ask them if they want pictures of their faces, or their shoes,” he laughed, referring to the mud often tracked in from the tree harvest.

Miller said Holiday Hill business is a great family activity involving his own children, as well as several friends.

“It’s so much fun. We have so much fun doing this,” he said.

For more information about area Christmas tree farms and care of a cut tree, visit to www.IndianaChristmasTree.com.

To check out the Holiday Hill website, visit www.4aTree.com or their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/HolidayHillTreeFarm.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.

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