Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 23, 2013

Merry trees for Mercer

‘Choose-and-cut’ farms offer variety of beautiful branches

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

CAMP CREEK — Gene Bailey, owner of Bluestone Nursery on Stovall Ridge Road in Camp Creek, was pleasantly surprised when he received his copy of the “2013 West Virginia ‘Choose-and-Cut’ Christmas Tree Farms,” published by the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

“With the exception of a picture of some wreaths, every photo in the pamphlet was made on our farm,” Bailey said. “I was kind of flattered.”

Bluestone Nursery is one of three Mercer County Christmas tree growers listed in the pamphlet. The other two in Mercer County are the Mountain Vista Christmas Tree Farm on Black Oak Road in Princeton and the Plateau Tree Farm located on Mercer Springs Road in Princeton.

“I’ve been planting Christmas trees since 1946, but we started selling them in 1964. We usually plant Christmas trees when they are four years old. A tree is about ready to be cut when it’s 11 years old. A lot of people like to come out and search for just the right tree. We have some people who have been coming out to the farm since the 1970s.”

Bluestone Nursery has about 20,000 trees in various stages of growth, many of which are ready for this year. The farm will be open from the Friday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29) until Christmas Eve for people who would like to harvest their own trees.

The Division of Forestry provides some helpful hints about how to keep a “choose-and-cut” Christmas tree fresh through the holiday season, which include trimming an inch off the bottom of the tree before placing it in the water-filled tree stand as quickly as possible. “A bucket of sand and water can be used in place of a stand,” according to the pamphlet. “It is important to maintain a suitable water level at all times.” Mercer County and Preston County both have three choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms. There are 32 Christmas tree farms in the state.

“Some people choose their tree quickly and others take a long time,” Bailey said. “It all depends on the person.” He said he has not seen the new television commercial that shows a man being chased out of the woods by a bear after cutting the family’s Christmas tree. “My son-in-law had a bear on his porch three straight days, but he yelled and scared it off,” Bailey said.

“Assistant State Forester Bob Radspinner came up here a couple of years and shot a few pictures. He said the staff picked the ones for the pamphlet,” Bailey said. “Steve Shaluta, the photographer with the Division of Commerce was here and took pictures of my son-in-law and granddaughter loading a truck. Those were going to Beckley.”

To get the pamphlet, contact Larry Wilkerson, P.O. Box 6, Griffithsville, WV 25521; phone 304-542-2362 or email, (wilktreefarm@aol.com).

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com