Growing Christmas trees at Clark Christmas Tree Farm

Clarks Christmas Tree farm

Clarks Christmas Tree Farm

“How hard can it be to grow Christmas trees?” asked Eric Watne. He found out there is more to it than he expected over the past eight years as co-owner of Clark Farm in Tiverton, RI. Eric is now the President of the RI Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Purchasing a neglected Christmas tree farm was exciting for novice growers, Eric and Cat Watne. The founder of the Clarks Christmas Tree Farm had retired and moved away in the late 1990s. The next owner neglected most  trees completely. Other trees had been shaved to maintain their overall size. Tree trunk diameter grew thicker every year. Eric said when his staff  cut the thickest trunks by hand  their arm would be useless for the next hour. The Watnes eventually used chain saws – until the old, thick-trunked trees were sold. Now, handsaws maintain the stillness of a winter day in the country. [Read more here.]

Photo provided by Clarks Christmas Tree Farm.


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 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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