December is upon us and with that comes the very important task of choosing the perfect Christmas tree to see us through the festive season.
What could be better than a day out for all the family to a local Christmas tree farm, where the trees are planted by hand and carefully looked after all year-round until they’re ready to be carted off to their new homes?
Dewcombe Christmas Trees at Lawhitton, just outside of Launceston, is looking forward to welcoming this year’s hoard of Christmas tree lovers to their family farm.
With five varieties of Christmas trees on-site, there will be something for everyone to take home - from the traditional Norway Spruce and bushy Nordmann Fir, to the more unusual Korean Fir.
Run by David and Emmanuelle Chudleigh, plus their seven-year-old daughter Elize and not forgetting Maggie the dog, Dewcombe Christmas Trees is the perfect place to find that special festive centrepiece for your home.
With a background in forestry and as a full-time timber harvester, David takes his love for the outdoors into the weekends, working long hours to care for each tree - of which there are more than 6,500 planted across two fields.
David began this venture in 2015, and the trees are planted every two years. Across the site, there are numerous trees of all shapes and sizes, some ready to become Christmas trees this year, while others still have a couple of years of growing to go. 2023 will be David’s fifth planting year.
Nordmann fir makes up 70% of the plantation, while Norway spruce makes up another 10%. The remaining 20% consist of more unusual species such as blue spruce, Noble fir, Korean fir and Fraser fir.
The farm opened up on the last weekend of November, and is welcoming the community to come and select their Christmas tree. They are open on the Saturday and Sunday of the coming weekends (10th and 11th, and 17th and 18th December).
David marks up a number of trees ready to be sold, while the rest of the trees stay snug in the ground until it’s their time to go. People can come and reserve a tree to collect at a later date, or they can simply come on the day, choose their tree and take it home there and then!
Farming Christmas trees is hard work; pruning is done by hand and starts in July and finishes in September, which is a vital step to ensuring the trees have great shape.
David also has local wildlife and the weather to contend with. The family has invested in some wire fencing to prevent wildlife from entering the fields and munching on the trees. The weather can also play a large part in the growing process. The Nordmann Firs planted in 2017 were hit by a hard frost two years in a row which burnt off their new tender shoots, although they are recovering well thanks to David’s hard work.
“It’s a labour of love,” David admitted.
While the argument of real versus false Christmas trees ensues every year, the Chudleighs are confident that buying a Christmas tree from their plantation, which are hand planted and grown every two years, is the best option. Being as sustainable as possible is important to David.
““With 6,500 trees growing, and another 4 – 6,000 going in over the next six years, there are more than enough to match what is being taken each Christmas.”
Dewcombe Christmas Trees is open every Saturday and Sunday, 9am-4pm up until Christmas. As well as freshly cut Christmas trees, there will also be wreaths, stands and potted trees available. Bring your wellies and step into the wonderful fresh air to select your perfect Christmas tree…