Cuttin' Time! Texas Christmas Tree Farms Ready for Rush

Cleburne farm even offers trees for allergy sufferers

We do a lot of talking about Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when everyone rushes to the malls, jams the stores and tries to get all of their Christmas shopping done in a day.

But another tradition that follows turkey doesn't get as much chatter: Going on a safari to find and cut your own Christmas tree.  

Yes, Virginia, Christmas trees grow in North Texas -- lots of them.

Dozens of Christmas tree farms are within easy driving distance of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and the each one offers a wide variety of trees, saws to cut them down with and other services such as shaking and bagging.

Many farms offer other activities to go along with the experience, such as hay rides, corn mazes and cider pressings.  

"Many die-hard fans will be here when we open for the season Friday morning at 10 a.m.," said Marianna Wilson, who owns the Mainstay Farm in Cleburne with her husband, Jim.  

"Many people who are long-time live tree-cutters will get here right as we open the gates the day after Thanksgiving to get first pick of the fields," she said."There are more trees ready for harvest this year than in the past three years."

For those allergic to Christmas trees, the farm also grows a nonallergenic option.

The sap, pollen and spores of evergreen trees can prompt runny noses, coughing, wheezing and, in extreme cases, it can cause some people who are allergic to stop breathing.

For people who have needed to settle for artificial trees, the Wilsons grow a hybrid variety of a juniper called the Leyland Cypress

"It is a cross between an Alaskan White Cedar and a Monterey Cypress," Jim Wilson said. "They are reproduced from rooted cuttings and produce no berries, spores or pollen, making them allergy-free."

The Leyland Cypress also does not share another problem of the typical pine-type tree -- it has no needles. Instead, the tree has evergreen foliage that is actually a leaf that looks like a pine, but is much softer and does not shed. 

The Mainstay Farm not only grows its own trees, it also ships in a big batch of Frasier Firs from up north. Wilson calls the Frasier Firs the "Rolls Royce of Christmas trees." 

"If you want that Christmas smell and a gorgeous tree, this may be too much to resist," she said. "They come in on refrigerated trucks. We get them in water right away, and the crowd snatches them up in a hurry."

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