In 1992, Peter and Arlana Richardson went “Out On A Limb” and decided to buy their future tree farm- or so Arlana’s father said. But over 20 years later, the business is booming and thriving in the lower Wisconsin area.
With over 20,000 trees growing on their 40-acre spread, families have plenty of options to choose from when scouting out that perfect Christmas tree. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, people are lined up, waiting to set their eyes on the new year’s crop.
But for the Richardson’s, work doesn’t just start the day after Turkey Day. As a year-round business, Peter and Arlana are out on the lot fighting weeds, trimming trees, and mowing the sprawling acreage.
And each year 2,500 new trees are planted. By hand.
But thankfully Peter hires some local teenagers to help.
Once the trees reach 3 feet in height, Peter comes out and shears each one with a 36-inch, razor sharp knife. The shearing slows growth and makes the tree fuller, leaving families to choose from that traditional cone shape. It’s a labor intensive process, with most of the summer devoted to completing the shearing.
About a month before Thanksgiving, Peter heads out and harvests any trees with damage or just poor shapes. But rather than tossing them, the Richardson’s turn the fragrant greenery into roping, wreaths, and swags, which can be bought at the gift shop in their historic log cabin.