May 24, 2017

Wolgast Tree Farm would like to offer a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who came out to the farm this year, and wish you all a New Year filled with health, happiness, good fortune and love.  It was wonderful to see so many returning customers and to catch up (when we had a moment!) with your family goings-on.  We enjoyed too, meeting lots of new faces this past season.  That some of you even brought us gifts was extremely thoughtful and touching.  Without a doubt we have the best customers around and we feel honored that you chose our Christmas tree farm to be part of your holiday celebrations.  We really are lucky!   

We’ve already started to get ready for the growing season next year. 

Clearing around stumps.

Even before Christmas, we were out clearing around stumps to cut them flush with the ground so we won’t hit them when we mow during the summer, and to clear the way for planting seedlings next to them this spring.  Soon we’ll be calculating how many seedlings to order and how many of which tree species we should purchase.

Len planting a Scoth pine seedling given to us by a customer.

In addition to clearing around stumps, the last thing we did in the field today for 2011 was to plant a Scotch pine seedling that one of our customers had given to us a few weeks ago.  Apparently, this person’s mother was growing the seedling in a pot and could no longer look after it, so they gave it to us and asked that we plant it in our fields to grow as a Christmas tree.  We walked the rows and picked out a spot we thought had the best microsite conditions that would help the tree to grow its best.  Time will tell if we were right!

Once again, our sincere thanks to everyone who came out to the farm this past Christmas season, and our best wishes for a 2012 that far exceeds your expectations!

http://www.wolgasttreefarm.com/christmas-trees/979/

Hurricane Irene’s Aftermath At Wolgast Tree Farm

It’s been over a week since Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey and although many areas are still dealing with serious problems caused by the storm, and now even more rain, Wolgast Tree Farm was very fortunate to come through virtually unscathed. 

Honeybees bringing nectar & pollen back to the hive after Hurricane Irene.

Our bee hives stayed upright and “the girls” (worker honeybees are all female) were out and about looking for pollen and nectar by 10:30 am Sunday the day after the storm.  

To our amazement, none of the trees that line our driveway blew over.  

Cutting a blown over tree for firewood

Some of our maple trees that we’ve tapped in the past to make maple syrup lost many branches, and one had the top broken off completely, so syrup production will likely be lower in 2012.  

One cherry tree by our house had blown over, but missed power lines and other structures so it wasn’t a big deal.  We cut it up for firewood.

White pine seedling with "donut hole" around its base.

So far, the only storm-related problem with our Christmas trees involves the seedlings we planted this past spring.  The heavy rains saturated the soil and that combined with the severe winds to whip the seedlings around which created “donut holes” around the base.  These openings are a problem because the roots are more likely to lose moisture when its dry, and during the colder months the roots can be exposed to freezing.  Both can stress the seedlings and hamper growth.  We’ll need to walk the rows and check each seedling for any gaps and close the ones we find. 

Rains from Hurricane Irene caused our Shiitake mushroom logs to fruit.

One tiny positive that came from Irene was that the rain she brought caused many of the logs we inoculated last year with shiitake mushroom spawn to fruit.  Sautéed in butter and garlic, or prepared a zillion other ways, shiitake mushrooms

Headed for the frying pan!

are a tasty treat. Having produced them ourselves brings a sense of satisfaction, and puts a little twist on the adage of making lemonade when life hands you lemons.   

Wolgast Tree Farm feels very lucky to have made it through Hurricane Irene with so little damage, and we keep in our thoughts the many others who had, and in many cases continue to have, great difficulties as a result of the storm.  We hope everyone is safe and that life gets back to normal as soon as possible.

On The Grow at Wolgast Tree Farm

It’s been a banner growing season so far this year here at Wolgast Tree Farm.  All the rain we’ve had coupled with just enough sun has really helped to bolster the growth of the 800 seedlings we planted this past spring. 

Usually during the first year after a seedling is planted, most of its energies are directed towards establishing a strong root system with very little growth in the branches.  But this year has been different.  We’ve noticed lots of new growth along the branches, which means that the seedlings not only have strong root systems, but that they have extra energy to devote to green growth as well.  This bodes well for seedling vigor in future years.   Here, Len is admiring all the new, light green growth on a Canaan fir that was planted this past April. 

We grow nine species of Christmas trees and each one has special needs in order for it to grow healthy.  Some seedlings, like white pines, can grow well on wet sites.  Others need to be on a site that is high and dry.  We plant each individual seedling according to the microsite conditions where it will grow best.  Healthy seedlings are better able to fight off insect pests and other environmental stresses (like drought), which is part of our Intergrated Pest Management program (IPM).   

We can’t predict what the future holds, but if we continue to have favorable weather during the growing seasons, coupled with being on the proper soil site, this Canaan fir seedling could be ready to be someone’s special Christmas tree in six or seven years.  Things are really “On The Grow” at Wolgast Tree Farm!