It’s a Christmas tradition that is coming to a close.
The oldest and largest fresh Christmas tree farm in Saskatchewan said it’s wrapping up for the season after upwards of 400 families trudged through the snow to get the tree of their choice at the Mason Christmas Tree Farm just outside of Kenaston.
Endless hours of prep go into each and every season starting months in advance, efforts all led by a couple that love Christmas trees and can detail fun and festive facts about the farm.
“These are a spruce, they’re actually Meyers spruce from China,” Bob Mason explained.
A photo of the Christmas tree farm near Kenaston in December 2018.
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It was years ago when a cousin of Bob’s from Michigan, U.S., planted the seed suggesting the couple run a Christmas tree farm.
“He saw a little group of trees that I planted near the house and asked if I was growing them as Christmas trees. I had never thought of it, I was just filling up the space.”
More than 20 years later, the operation is the largest in the province with close to 9,000 trees.
“We still love the trees, well I do and my wife she goes along for the ride,” Bob said with a laugh.
For those pining for the perfect tree for the holidays, they’ll find it at the farm.
However, there are times both Bob and his wife Cora Greer said they’re surprised when a tree, they don’t qualify as up to industry standards, is one of the first to be selected.
“I’ve seen trees and wondered why they’ve taken them,” Greer smiled.
“It’s in the eye of the beholder – what you want for a Christmas tree and what I want for a Christmas tree are very different so when we’re shaping our trees we have to keep that in mind.”
From skinny ones for tight apartments, to tall ones to cater to cathedral ceilings, the farm has it all.
Approximately 1,200 to 1,500 seedlings are planted by hand each year and they require a ton of work before they’re considered mature.
The Masons are at the mercy of both mother nature and wildlife. They lose trees in drought-like conditions but also lost a bunch recently because of too much water.
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If they survive, each tree is then sheared to help keep its shape. The range is anywhere from nine to 16 years for the trees to become fully grown.
“It’s hard if you don’t love it but we love it,” Bob said.
In 1998, the Masons’ sold their first Christmas tree after planting roots on their farm.
Over the years, 10,000 to 12,000 trees have been cut down by families wanting to experience the magic of selecting their very own tree.
They can be out for a couple of hours if the weather is nice. They’re singing out there and arguing over which tree they’re going to get,” Cora said.
Other fun facts about the Mason Christmas Tree Farm:
- The trees on the farm produce the daily oxygen requirements for more than 300 people and can remove about 200,000 kilograms of pollutants per year;
- Trees are acknowledged world-wide as one of the greenest resources for absorbing excess carbon dioxide that is contributing to climate change;
- Real Christmas trees are completely recyclable; and
- Real trees last a month or so after they are cut.