Christmas trees farmers share information at Winterberry Farm

Christmas tree nursery at Winterberry Farm

Christmas tree nursery at Winterberry Farm

We are a family operation,” said Shelly Cumpstone of Winterberry Farm in Killingworth, CT. Shelly, her husband Peter and two sons own this farm and cut Christmas tree operation. Shelly’s and Peter’s parents help during the busy season. The fathers, ages 82 and 95, greet customers and hand out saws while the mothers, ages 83 and 89, collect the money. Since planting the first trees in 1984, the Cumpstones’ operation has grown to 14 acres. In 2011, they sold nearly 1,000 trees, 400 wreaths and 75 kissing balls.

This Christmas tree farm buys in seedlings and grows them on in nursery beds. The Cumpstones hoe an 8”deep trench and lay in two-year-old seedlings from Needlefast Evergreens and New Life Nursery of Michigan. After filling the trenches back in, Peter and Shelly stand up the trees and compress the soil around them to stand them up straight. The beds are mulched with wood chips to retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds. Weeding is almost unnecessary by the second year because the trees shade the soil surface. The young trees get two years of special care including fertilizer and water before being hand-dug and field planted. [more]

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About Sanne Kure-Jensen

Sanne Kure-Jensen is a frequent contributor to Country Folks, Country Folks Grower and Wine & Grape Grower bringing regional and national attention to agriculture in RI and across southern New England. She has also written for newsletters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Holistic Management International (HMI), RI Beekeepers Association and RI Tree Council. Read Sanne’s work at her Sustainable Living page at examiner.com. Sanne has written successful grant applications for alternative energy projects, staff and board training, products and services. Clients include agricultural businesses, farm stand/markets and non-profit organizations. Recent successful grant projects include a $90,000 USDA Rural Development‘s Rural Energy For America Program (REAP), $10,000 Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Farmer and $20,000 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). Sanne is the part-time Administrator for NOFA/RI, a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist and beekeeper. She is a NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional and has lectured across southern New England on Beekeeping, Native Pollinators and Ecological Landscape Design. Learn more about the NOFA’s Land Care programs or contact Sanne for a garden consultation through the NOFA/RI website.
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