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Trimming Christmas trees to perfection in August

Wheeler's Christmas Tree Farm in Tunnel Hill, Georgia


It's been a tough year for many local crops, gardens, and farms because of the severe drought conditions all summer. One crop that is thriving though is Christmas trees, specifically Murray Cyprus trees. While the holiday season is still months away, August is a busy and critical time of year for the farms that are responsible for those holiday staples.

"What I found is best is you want to start at the bottom and draw you a line straight up where you want it to be," said White. White is an expert trimmer at Wheeler's Christmas Tree Farm, owned by Kevin Wheeler and his family.

"Me and my wife -- our tradition was to always cut a tree," said Wheeler. They wanted to help families create memories of their own. In 2009 they planted their first set of trees. Wheeler said that his first lot had just 450 trees. At first they only had Murray Cyprus trees and over the years they started to add in a few different varieties. Wheeler said they kept adding lots and now they have four.

"When we plant our little trees it is a constant battle from day one to keep the grass down and keep the weeds from taking over the tree," said Wheeler. He explained it takes about four years for a tree to grow to full size.

"Last year right here, where we are standing, these stumps -- this is what we sold last year," said Wheeler. They planted new trees in between the stumps from the previous year's main plot. Wheeler said it's the joy of the Christmas season that drives them to work all year long -- even in the blazing heat.

"Just seeing everyone in the community come together and share the experience. It is just awesome, That's what it is all about," said Wheeler.

White said his favorite part about trimming the trees is to just make them look better.

"They [the customers] are going to stand back and look at how uniform it is. They are going to wonder how you got it so perfectly straight," said White.

Wheeler's Christmas Tree Farm opens Thanksgiving Day.

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