West and Gentry started growing Christmas trees about 14 years and this is their fifth year to offer them for sale. The farm has Murray Cypress (a hybrid of Leyland Cypress), old-fashioned cedar, and Sapphire Blue trees. Sapphire Blue is a very aromatic tree.
Taking care of Christmas trees is a year round endeavor. “The trees must be fertilized and watered regularly, and sprayed with a fungicide every 21 days,” said West. “They also must be shaped. It is a lot of work. It usually takes eight years before a tree can be cut, so there is not a fast return on your investment.”
The tree farm will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 23-25. The price for a six-foot tree is $36. Eight-foot trees are $48. A few taller trees are ready to be cut, and they will be priced according to their height.
Dianne West, Rick’s wife said, “We sometimes have whole families come to our farm to pick out a tree. I have taken pictures of proud parents holding a tiny baby because they wanted to preserve the moment of that child’s first Christmas tree cutting experience. We also have had newlyweds looking for the first tree they would put up as a couple. There might be a dozen people from a single family, including grandparents, searching the rows looking for that one special tree. You can hear them shouting to each other as they look around.”
“One year a little boy raced over to me from his family’s car,” said West, “grabbed my legs and gave me a hug. … That little boy had evidently come to the farm the year before to get a tree and was looking forward to doing it again.”
“Up until about seven weeks ago we had the best crop of trees we have ever had,” West said. “One day, I noticed some brown spots on some of my trees. I was devastated. It was Seiridium canker, a type of fungus that attacks Leyland cypress trees. In spite of spraying the trees as needed, they still came down with the infestation. Several thousand of our trees were affected. Luckily, we have one plot that was not affected, and those are the trees we will have for sale. Raising Christmas trees has been a blessing for me, and hopefully we will get over this setback with the fungus.”
To get to Westwood Plantations, drive about three miles south of Oxford on U.S. 21 and look for the signs. The address is 130 Pinewood Drive, Munford, Alabama. If any trees are still left after the 25th, the tree farm will open for additional days. Call 256-591-7295 to be sure when they will be open.
Danny McCarty can be reached by emailing him at email@example.com.