Instead of logs on the fire and jingle bells, Henley Farms in Pungo has logs on the fire and power tools.
Jeff Henley and his family run the Virginia Beach operation year-round. This time of year, they have Christmas trees and other holiday fare for sale.
Growing the trees requires patience.
“They say about a foot per year. So depending on what you need, it’s about eight years to grow a tree from the time you plant it,” Henley said.
During that time, the trees need shaping – or pruning – to have the familiar Christmas tree shape.
They have trees that grow from seeds and those that grow from other trees, like the Leland Cyprus.
The Lelands are kin to a cedar tree, according to Henley. The only way that you can grow these trees is by taking a cutting from a more mature tree.
The cuttings spend two years growing in pots of different sizes before making a more permanent home in the fields.
Henley does the math for you: “it’s about a 10-year process from when you take the cutting to when you cut the tree.”
Trees planted this year should be ready by the next time the United States hosts the Summer Olympics – in 2028.
That will only happen if the weather cooperates.
“Most of them don’t like the wet,” Henley recalls what a wet 2018 did to their tree harvest for this year.
“That’s what we had this year so we lost a lot of our trees that we had that we could have sold.”
Henley Farm utilizes nearly the entire tree. They also create wreaths from cuttings and reindeer from spare wood to sell during the holiday season.
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