READY FOR HARVEST: Katrina, Evelyn, West and Brad Fraser are excited to deliver their first Christmas tree harvest.
READY FOR HARVEST: Katrina, Evelyn, West and Brad Fraser are excited to deliver their first Christmas tree harvest. Liana Walker

Queensland Christmas trees handcrafted for harvest

THREE years of growing, pruning, spraying and care has gone into the Granite Belt Christmas Farm's first tree harvest.

The 20-acre farm just 10 minutes out of Stanthorpe holds 10,000 planted trees, 1000 of which are now ready for harvest.

Owner Katrina Fraser said a lot of hard work went into preparing for the trees for the first harvest.

"They're extremely high maintenance. The whole farm is irrigated, they need a lot of water," she said.

"They're hand-pruned four times a year to get the classical Christmas shape and that's all done by a pruning knife, by hand.

"That takes months to have the whole property pruned."

 

READY FOR HARVEST: Brad, West, Evelyn and Katrina Fraser out in the paddock.
READY FOR HARVEST: Brad, West, Evelyn and Katrina Fraser out in the paddock. Liana Walker

 

The evergreen trees grow on 15 acres of the property. They go dormant for the winter, however the region's sub-zero temperatures are a concern for the farm.

"We've got to be very careful of the frost making sure it doesn't knock them around too much," she said.

"It's like any industry they can get diseases that you've always got to be managing and spraying for."

The farm sold 400 trees over the weekend with tall trees the pick of the crop.

"The tallest tree this year is 9-foot tall, but the main size is around the 6ft mark.

"All our 6ft and above sold out by lunch time.

"It's all very well for people to go in the paddock and say they want the biggest tree, but it's still got to fit in their house."

The majority of buyers at the harvest were visitors from Toowoomba, Ipswich and Brisbane.

Mrs Fraser said the farm still had several smaller trees available for purchase at any time.

 

The trees were taken from the paddock into a netting machine on Saturday.
The trees were taken from the paddock into a netting machine on Saturday. Glenda Riley Photography

She hoped the Christmas trees would be more than just another ornament for families.

"It's the experience of the day, you're coming, you're cutting the Christmas tree down with the family," she said.

"But we also have Santa here, craft activities, everything to make that whole experience amazing and then for them to go home and put the tree up and for people to think 'wasn't that a great time of year?'"

"To me Christmas is all about families and that special time together, our farm is to make that happen and creating that family memory."

After harvest, with the correct care, the trees will last for four weeks.

"Everyone likes to traditionally put their tree up on the first of December and then it lasts up until a couple of days after Christmas then it's designed to see ya later and you've got New Year's Eve where people like to have their decorations finished by then."

As for why to pick a real tree as opposed to a plastic alternative: "The smell of pine in your home," Mrs Fraser said.

"That just makes it more the Christmas spirit, that fresh smell is just magical."

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