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Christmas tree farms prepare for harvest season Submitted: 08/16/2017

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TOMAHAWK - You probably won't think about the Christmas season for quite some time. But at the Steigerwaldt Tree Farms in Tomahawk, the Christmas season is a year round affair. 
 
For Steigerwaldt Tree Farms President and CEO Ed Steigerwaldt...'Oh, Christmas Tree' took on a different meaning at a young age.

"I started working the tree fields with my dad when I was eight or nine years old," said Steigerwaldt.
Decades later, he's still in those fields, singing a different tune this time of year.

August means trees won't be cut for several months. Planting happened in the spring, but it's still a busy time getting trees sheared and tagged.


"Kevin is the master, he knows how to shear better than anybody, he's got it," said Steigerwaldt. 

Steigerwaldt tries to get shearing done by the beginning of September. Then, trees are tagged by color to determine their value.

Those are steps that help prepare the Tomahawk-area tree farm for sending the trees off to 12 states and Canada.

"Trees like this will end up in Golden Harvest in Rhinelander or in a retail lot, and certainly in Florida or Tomahawk," said Steigerwaldt. 

Trees are harvested when they're between 12 and 15 years old. Come November, Steigerwaldt will have a huge crop, choosing the best from a quarter-million trees.

"We'll be cutting about 20,000 this year, ideally you'd be cutting eight to 10 percent of your inventory," said Steigerwaldt. 

It's a busy time made a little easier by hard work now, to make sure your Christmas starts on the right note.

"Everybody comes back from the retail lots, then we give everybody two weeks to heal, to recover," said Steigerwaldt. 

Steigerwaldt grows eight different kinds of trees. Balsam fir is the most popular in Wisconsin. 


Story By: Rose McBride

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