Elizabeth Black, who lives in Boulder, Colorado

Your Neighborhood Christmas Tree Farm

Chris Brown, who lives in Boulder, Colorado

When you visit our tree farm in Boulder, you enter an eccentric and curious environment. We are both artists, and have created many sculptures and garden environments for you to explore while you pick out your tree. Some activities which we offer:

* Grilling marshmallows
* Hot apple cider
* A chairlift swing
* "Hi-ho Silver", the amazing rocking horse

Bagged a good One! A wonder horse PLUS a marshmallow!
Bagged a good one! and The Wonder Horse

A full Load
A full load!

The Wonder Horse

ferocious Prairie Guard Dog Christmas Tree Office door
The ferocious Prairie Guard Dog, and the Christmas Tree Office door.

Chris Brown has been a landscape photographer for 50+ years. You can see some of his work at www.ChrisBrownPhotography.com. Elizabeth Black has been a landscape painter for 35 years. Her work can be seen at www.ElizabethBlackArt.com.
Chris photgraphing for his work ___Elizabeth, painting for her work

We met in Flagstaff when we were both guiding raft trips on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. We still enjoy getting out on the river and into the wilderness as much as we can.

Elizabeth and Chris kayaking for fun

Your Neighborhood Christmas Tree Farm is located on one acre of land in North Boulder, Colorado, and is irrigated by the Silver Lake Ditch. We have about 1000 trees of various ages. We will be cutting about 100 trees a year. Each year we replant new trees to fill the spaces left by the cut trees, to keep our farm sustainable.

If you recycle the tree you cut, it will be ground into mulch which will slowly decompose and turn into carbon-rich soil. In this way, your tree can help to remove some carbon from the atmosphere and lock it up in the soil. While your tree is growing, it also provides wildlife habitat, breathes in CO2 and breathes out oxygen. These are some reasons why cutting a real Christmas tree is more sustainable than buying a fake tree, manufactured and shipped from China, and containing heavy metals.

digging stumps
extracted stump
stump pile
Digging out the stumps
Extracted root ball
Last year's stump pile

We decided to start growing Christmas trees around the time of the Bush#1 recession, to supplement our art income. (Art is not a very recession-proof profession.) Our plan was to have the trees ready for the next big recession. Unfortunately, as we all know, that recession came too soon and our trees were not ready until 2010.

Christmas trees are hard to grow along the Front Range of Colorado. Our cold dry winters and hot dry summers are hard on evergreens. We grow trees which do well in our climate: Scotch Pines and Blue Spruce, with a few Doug Firs thrown in. Here are the steps we followed in making our Christmas tree farm.

1. Rent a Bobcat and plow up the back yard. Then sow the yard with Buckwheat and Clover. Water, to make the cover crop grow. (Bobcat’s are pretty fun!)

2. Mow down the first cover crop. Rent the Bobcat again, and turn that cover crop in. Form the field into future planting beds. Plant a second cover crop of winter rye on the beds. Seed the paths with grass. Water like crazy.

3. Early in the spring, turn the second cover crop in. Mark out the paths and water lines.

4. Cover beds with landscape cloth to conserve soil moisture.

5. Rent a ditch witch and dig the water trenches.

6. Build a water shed to house the water system. Build and install waterlines for 8 zones of drip irrigation. Flush and test lines. Then bury them. Keep fingers crossed that the water will flow correctly.

7. PLANT THE TREES! FINALLY! Of course the trees arrived during the biggest snow of the year.

8. Cut holes in landscape cloth and pull trees through. Staple down landscape fabric. Run 4000 feet of drip pipe down between the trees. Insert 977 emitters (one per tree). Flush and test.

9. Cover fabric with mulch. Water, fertilize, mow and weed. Wait for the trees to grow. Practice patience.

10. Start pruning the trees when they are 3-4 years old. Scotch Pines need to be sheared each year to make a nicely formed Christmas tree. Spruce and firs don't need as much pruning.

Working in the Christmas tree farm _We have lots of trees in our tree farm!
2 year old Scotch Pines ______________________________Scotch Pines 5 years later

copyright © 2010; Your Neighborhood Christmas Tree Farm; all rights reserved
Elizabeth Black and Christopher Brown
4340 N 13th St., Boulder CO 80304

Serving Colorado's Front Range, including Boulder, Denver, Louisville, Lafayette, Longmont, Superior, Erie, Westminster, Broomfield, and surrounding areas.