Oh Christmas Tree: Wheeler Farms Selling Trees Amid Pandemic

. December 1, 2020.
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The weather is getting colder and Christmas is right around the corner. According to tradition, you should have put up your tree on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day (Advent)– which was on November 29. But, if you’ve missed that date, The Whitehouse Tree Farm is now open and they can help.

Any shape and size
For nearly 30 years, Duke and Martha Wheeler of Whitehouse, along with their children, have been selling fresh-cut Christmas trees to families throughout the community. On 100+ acres there are 65–70,000 trees, from two-foot high Charlie Brown-esque trees to 22-foot-tall Fraser Firs. Duke Wheeler explains that you can find it all on the farm. 

“Our greeters will give you farm maps and direct you to different fields where you can find the type of tree you want. Once you find your tree, a cutter will come measure it, cut it down and take it to the loading dock where they will shake, bale and place it on top of your car.” Fraser and Douglas Fir trees are the most popular, followed by Concolor Firs and White Pines.

image1The Growing Process
Before the trees grow into a full Christmas wonder, they need plenty of love and attention. It all begins by planting seeds or transplanting small trees. For every Christmas tree that is cut down, two to three seedlings take its place the following spring.

“We buy the seedlings or transplants in the spring and hope for a moist spring and a mild summer, especially in the first year,” says Duke.

In the first year of growing, the seedlings need to adapt to the environment, and if they take to the soil, they will grow one foot per year. Over the years, tree farm workers maintain the soil and feed and shear the trees to make sure the branches grow in. Then, once the trees are ready, they will be ready to take home.

COVID Changes
Wheeler Farms opened on November 25 to sell pre-cut Fraser Firs, so families could avoid large crowds. Now through December 13, the tree farm is open at full capacity with masking and social-distancing guidelines in place. Employees will be screened daily and all contact surfaces will be regularly sanitized with hand sanitizing or hand washing stations available throughout the farm.

If you’re looking for a tree to purchase, keep in mind that you pay by the foot, so for a seven-foot tree (the most popular size), you can expect to pay between 40 and 90 dollars. 

If the cold air is nipping at your nose, hot cocoa and hot dogs will be available for a small fee. Dogs are also welcome as long as they are trained and on a leash. “We’re more about the experience and making sure that whoever visits our farms, has a memorable experience,” says Duke. 

3-5 pm, Tuesdays–Fridays; 10 am–5pm, Saturdays and Sundays
11455 Obee Road, Whitehouse.
419-877-2733 | wheelerfarms.com