the Best Trees?
Field #1 — Tallest trees, good selection. Fraser 5–6.5’
Field #2 — due to recent flood no cutting.
Field #3 — due to recent flood no cutting
Field #4 — due to recent flood no cutting
Field #5 — due to recent flood no cutting
Why are lower branches missing on some trees?
Lower branches may be trimmed because of damage from…
Contact with tractor tires
Lack of snow cover to protect these low lying trees from the cold...lower branches take it hardest
A late frost after the buds have started to grow on already stressed trees due to the extremly cold winter.
What happened to your taller trees?
Our goal here at Glove Hollow has always been to maintain 8’ as our maximum height — and we are almost there once again. Some of you may remember a time (2014–2018) when we had some trees up to 13’ tall. This was an unusual result of a 5-year supply glut which left thousands of 8’ trees uncut and allowed to grow. Growers all over New England were unable to sell their excess of trees. To rectify the situation, new plantings were reduced or stopped to save on the cost of annual shearing and to sell down the inventory. With the advent of Covid lockdowns, there was a sudden increase in demand, buyers from all over flocked to our farm as well as every other farm. Upwards of 3/4 of our business is wholesale, with orders and deposits made in June and July. These commintments bankroll our summer shearing crew.
Growing Christmas trees is not an exact science, and what we observe on our farm is often experienced and discussed by other growers across New England. Various weather conditions can impact the trees — too much rain, too little rain, too many summer days over 100°, any number of climate events. Unlike annual crops, when we harvest our trees years later, the weather events that impacted the growth of our trees have been long forgotten by our customers but still effect the trees.
How old are the trees?
Most of the trees ready to be cut this season are on average 12–14 years old — 4–5 years from seed at the nursery plus 8–9 years growing on our farm. They were 6”–20” when transplanted to our farm. Once planted here, they grow an inch or so the first few years due to shock from transplantation. Once their roots get established they can grow 18"–3' a year, but we limit the leader to roughly 12” to create a dense shape. We plan for 80–90% survival rate the first spring after planting. In some cases, with perfect conditions, we may see a 95% survival. Unfortunately, we sometimes see as few as 5% survive, with lack of rain for example.
What are the differences between Frasers and Balsams?
Not all farms have the right conditions to grow Fraser which is considered the Cadillac of the industry. Frasers have stiffer branches for holding heavier ornaments. The stiffer branches also hold more moisture and therefore hold their needles best. Frasers bud later in the spring, protecting the tree from frost damage…as well as protecting the tree from pests (cycles at that time) that are feeding on early budding plants. Needles have little to no aroma. Tip for you…If you cut the ends of the branches (as needed) you should get enough aroma into the house, even for a short time, to make it smell more Christmasy.
Balsam is the traditional tree for New England and its fragrance is what most of us remember from our childhood. Although it is native to higher elevations it can grow in many conditions. There any many species of Balsams. At Glove Hollow we mainly grow a species called “Canaan” which comes from the Canaan valley of Virginia, a low lying area with wet conditions similar to Glove Hollow’s fields on the lower intervale . Such areas are prone to late spring frosts. The Canaan Fir don’t start growing until late in the season making it less susceptible to frost damage and pest damage. With little to no pest damage we don’t need to rely on sprays for pest control — breath deeply and enjoy as we do.