Spring Damage

As busy as our Pumpkin and Christmas Tree seasons are, this May has been time-consuming.  From all the rain delays, transplanting, changes to the barn and tending to our new baby farm animals, my husband Wesley thought I was crazy for wanting to add one more project to my list.  But, I did anyway!

We have always been avid bluebird watchers, but I never knew until recently that Christmas tree farms were the ideal habitat for New York’s official state bird!  A big thanks to Jim Missel, the Monroe County rep of the NYS Bluebird Society.  He helped us to get 5 new nesting houses built and up.  While it is the end of nesting season, as of this past Saturday, we have at least one pair of bluebirds in the Douglas fir field that is just west of the barns.

While I am still hoping that Bob Melville, our resident photographer can catch a few photographs, the above picture is courtesy of Jospeh Woody.  He took this picture of a bluebird that Jim Missel tends.  Jim currently tends over 60 nests!  Which is impressive.

If anyone is interested in learning more about bluebirds, go to the NYS Bluebird Society web page at www.nysbs.com for tips on identification and building nesting boxes.

We have also had some animal damage in the Christmas trees this year.  Not atypical but still something  that does need to be dealt with annually.

In this picture rabbits ate all the new growth off the bottom of the tree as high as they could reach.  If you have ever seen the black bunnies that run around the farm, you know that they are not small!

Here is a picture I took of where deer had eaten all the bottom branches off a Fraser fir.  Notice the Concolor in the center was not touched.  Dad and I have talked about adding deer fencing to the west  part of the fields to help limit this damage.


This last picture is of a broken leader (or top) on a Douglas Fir.  Crows perching on the tender new growth tend to cause this type of breakage.  Crows also prey on songbird eggs and young.  Since crows have moved into the farm, it’s a rare sight to see a songbird nesting in the Christmas trees.    Which makes me doubly mad.  Crows are an important part of the cycle of life, but I would much rather hear a songbird sing than a crow sqwak!


The picture above makes me think of White Christmas.  Dad and I have never seen this happen to a tree before, it essentially turned white.  We have reached out to our friends, tree farmers who belong to the National Christmas Tree Association, to see if anyone has insight as to what is wrong with this tree.  This is the only one in the field like this.  Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or information about a tree turning white.

As of this post there are 111 days left until we open for our Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Fest.  Julie, our marking manager, mentioned that to me.  Do I feel overwhelmed?  At times.  When I think about the changes yet to be made to the barn, that our corn maze and pumpkins still need to be planted and we have yet finalized our mailer or plan the American Lung Association fundraiser (5th Anniversary for this event), it can be a bit much.  But, then I think about how in the end it always gets done.  The almanac suggests a nice fall, so here’s hoping.

A happy spring to all!

Suzanne Stokoe


One response to “Spring Damage

  1. Gerald P. Kral

    Intriguing! First, is this a Douglas? Second, is this the first time that it has done this? Third, does it green out in the summer or towards winter? Please keep it on your “special care” list. This could be a very important conifer with a great future. I am sure it is not a physiologic effect (I’ve never heard of such an effect from soil chemistry or disease). It almost has to be genetic. If so, you have a gem. I can refer you to a great arboretum person in the American Conifer Society. He would be able to take you through the steps to establish this as a unique cultivar with great potential.
    I was a director of ACS for 6 years and currently administer our annual $2500 Scholarship. I can get you in contact with the International Conifer Arborists from around the world. Your site was referred to me by Carol & dave Southby. Thanks you for your attention.
    Gerald P. Kral

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