Mishicot tree farm readies for Christmas season

Alisa M. Shafer

MISHICOT - Snow crunches underfoot as you and your family trek through acres of farmland before you finally see it — the perfect Christmas tree.

Owner Keith Taylor shows the amount of new growth on one of his Blue Spruce trees at Taylor's Trees Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, in Mishicot, Wis. Josh Clark/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Keith and Terrie Taylor, owners of Taylor’s Trees Christmas tree farm in Mishicot, have dedicated the last 27 years of their lives to helping families find the perfect tree to bring home and decorate as part of their seasonal tradition.

“We love seeing the families and their kids when they get here and are all excited,” Terrie said.

Taylor’s Trees spreads over 12 acres, eight of which are used to grow trees, and offers close to 10,000 pine, fir, spruce and cedar trees from newly planted saplings to well-shaped trees up to 16 feet tall.

The couple purchased the farmland in 1989 and were ready to sell the trees by 1996. Keith said it takes between seven and 10 years for a tree to grow from a sapling to a full-size Christmas tree.

“We thought it would be something unique, a neat little hobby that kind of grew,” Terrie said. “We like being outdoors and seeing the wildlife. We see a lot of deer, a lot of turkey, a lot of birds that nest in the trees. There are rabbits out here. I think it is kind of neat to provide a place for families, where families can come and do their own Christmas tradition.”

A small section of Taylor's Trees Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, in Mishicot, Wis. Pine, Fir, Spruce and Cedar trees are some of the variety of cut-your-own trees offered. Josh Clark/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

This year, Taylor’s Trees will be open the day after Thanksgiving for those families who want to find a tree at the very start of the Christmas season.

“A lot of people have the tradition that the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving,” Keith said.

Last year, Keith received so many inquiries about being open the day after Thanksgiving that he said he ended up meeting families at the farm by appointment.

To supplement the Christmas trees, the Taylors also bundle boughs and create hand-tied wreaths for purchase.

For most, the trees only spend a few weeks in the home before they are taken down, but for the Taylors, taking care of the trees is a year-long endeavor. Between fertilizing, mowing, sheering and shaping the trees, Keith and Terrie spend a lot of time on the farm. However, they don’t always do it alone. Their daughter and her family, nephews and other family members help care for the trees and assist families when they come to pick one out.

“You watch them grow and you shape them and they are kind of like your babies,” Terrie said. “So when somebody takes it home, you are kind of like ‘Oh, that’s kind of neat.’”

According to the Taylors, the fir trees are typically the most popular. They have softer needles and limbs. However, the spruce trees are best if the family plans to use heavy decorations. The limbs are strong and firm and can better support the ornaments without losing the tree’s shape.

As for the Taylors, they typically bring home a fir tree. However, with a newly adopted puppy in their house this year, they plan to choose a blue spruce, which has sharper needles that may help deter the puppy from playing with the tree.

This winter, Taylor’s Trees will be open Nov. 24-26, Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 8-10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. While chainsaws are not allowed on the farm, they do provide handsaws families can use to cut their tree. They also offer free shaking to get rid of dead needles and hidden bird's nests and netting for easier transport of the tree. Most trees are $32 and smaller trees are $6 per foot, up to 5 feet.

For more details, visit www.taylortrees.com. Taylor's Trees is at 1505 WI-147, Mishicot.

Taylors’ tips for tree care

  • Use a tree stand with a water basin that provides 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. For most Christmas trees, the stand should hold at least 1 gallon of water. Replenish the water daily.
  • Do not use additives in the water. Clean water is all that is needed to keep the tree fresh.
  • Keep the tree away from sources of heat. Lowering the room temperature will slow the tree’s drying process and can result in less water consumption each day.
  • Monitor the tree for dryness. If the needles break easily or fall off, the tree is dry and should be removed. A well-cared-for tree should remain fresh at least three to four weeks before drying out.