Kurt and Karen purchased the property from Kurt’s family in 2005 and built a new house toward the back of the property. In 2007 they cleared 8 acres in the back of the property and planted 5,000 trees, mostly spruce. The initial planting was spruce, since Kurt had good experience growing and selling this species. At the same time, we planted several thousand firs in irrigated beds, readying them for transplant to an expansion area. In 2011, we built a pavilion for our niece’s wedding and for use during the Christmas Season and we also expanded the growing space: opening up more north-facing property for firs and expanding the beds. In spring 2012 the first expansion area was planted with transplanted firs, sustained with drip irrigation. We planted the back side of our dam in 2015, and plan to complete expansion in 2018. Our goal is 10,000 trees in the fields supported by the same number of trees in the beds.
In 2016 we started hosting weddings in earnest. This has diversified our farm and given us an important revenue source to help keep the farm viable. We are continually struck by how supportive our customers are, and how they “get it” that diversification is essential to sustaining agriculture.
At Emmerich Tree Farm we grow spruce, pine and fir. Please see our Inventory tab to get an up-to-date listing of the tree sizes and species we have available to cut.
Spruce- Kurt has experience growing spruce for Christmas trees on the property. For this reason, the majority of early plantings were spruce. Several varieties of spruce are planted in the south-facing field: Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, White Spruce, and smaller numbers of Black Hills Spruce and Myers Spruce.
Pine-The pines are fast growing and were planted to help develop a product quickly. Our first viable crop in 2012 was Scotch Pine, which are almost entirely gone. White Pine (the only tree species we grow that is native) have enjoyed a consistent demand due to their delicate, soft needles, beautiful dark green color and familiar Pine scent. We plan to continue selling White Pine.
Fir- Fir trees have slowly gained market share in the Christmas Tree industry over the past two decades, with Frasier Fir being the preferred species of many. Unfortunately, our soil’s pH and our growing conditions have not favored Frasier Fir, but have been very hospitable to Canaan, Balsam, and Concolor Firs. We have the following fir varieties: Frasier Fir, Korean Fir, Canaan Fir, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir and Concolor Fir.
Our cultural practices are designed to keep a sustainably steady supply of Christmas Trees. Each year we plant 2,000 4-yr old seedlings (transplants) in our growing beds, where we hold them for 4-5 years. We then move the now 8-9 year old trees (21/2-3 feet tall) into the field to replace the stumps left by cutting the previous Christmas. Digging the stump allows us to maintain our spacing, removes a possible source of root disease, “works” the soil in each tree location, and allows us to bring a tree to marketable size in 5 years instead of 10.