Cut-your-own tree farms add to Christmas experience

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

As the holiday season approaches, local Christmas tree growers invite families to tromp through their fields, cut down the perfect tree and linger awhile with some boiled peanuts or a cup of hot chocolate.

"That's something you can't find outside of a retail store or on the side of the road, is the experience," said Chuck Berry, owner of Berry's Tree Farm and president of the Georgia Christmas Tree Association.

"(Families can) make real memories, getting to pick the tree out and knowing where it came from, and it's a place to get out, enjoy the air and roam around."

This weekend is the busiest for Georgia Christmas tree farmers and nearby residents have at least three cut-your-own-tree locations to choose from: Berry's Tree Farm in Newton County, Yule Forest Christmas Tree Farm in Stockbridge and Sugarland Tree Farm, also in Stockbridge.

Other tree farms throughout Georgia can be found on the Georgia Christmas Tree Association website, www.gacta.com.

Berry said rains over the last year have spurred the growth of the trees, which go into a dormant-like stage if not provided water.

"Everything is as good as you could ask for," said Berry about the growing conditions this season.

Berry's offers leyland Cypress, Carolina sapphire, cedar and Virginia pine for harvesting, along with precut fraser firs. Prices range from $30 to $50 for an average size tree. Berry's also has wreaths, garland, concessions and a train ride for kids.

At Yuletide Christmas Tree Farm, customers will find Virginia pines, leyland Cypress, red cedars, cryptomerias, deodara cedars, white pines and precut fraser firs. Trees begin at $24. The business also offers wreaths, a petting zoo, a play area and concessions.

Sugarland Tree Farm's varieties include Virginia pine, cedar, leyland Cypress, blue ice, white pine and precut fraser firs. Trees cut in the field range in height from 4 to 12 feet and in price from $15 to $45.

Sugarland offers handmade artificial Christmas table arrangements and concessions. Santa will also be on hand for photos from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and the following two weekends in December.