By Leigh Ann Rutledge
December 11, 2012
|Dan Brunk of Brunk’s Tree Farm holds a cut Fraser Fir tree available for purchase for holiday decorating. Fraser Fir is the most popular type of pine tree used during the Christmas season.
Unsure of what type of pine tree is the best to decorate your home for the holiday season?
Dan Brunk of Union Twp., co-owner with his dad, Dan Sr., of Brunk’s Tree Farm, can answer your questions. Dan Sr. was in the tree business with another partner during the time Dan was growing up. He began following his dad around the fields, helping and learning from him, when he was nine years old.
When Dan turned 18, he and his dad purchased 25 acres and went into business for themselves. They now tend to 50 acres of trees and a few perennials.
Brunk’s Tree Farm offers several varieties of pine trees, such as Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir, Blue Spruce, White Pine, Scotch Pine, and Canadian Hemlock. Brunk noted the most popular type of cut pine tree he sells for holiday decorating is the Fraser Fir.
“The soft, short needles do not dry out enabling the tree to hold its needles,” explained Brunk. “The branches are sturdy which makes it easy for them to hold up when heavy ornaments are hung on them.” The blue-green two-tone color of the needles is a pretty addition for holiday decorating.
Brunk sells cut and balled trees in the parking lot of the Dollar General Market and Tractor Supply Co. (TSC) stores on Canton Rd. at the north end of Carrollton. Brunk urges residents to support local growers by buying trees grown in Carroll County. He has customers who purchase their Christmas tree from him each year.
“We cut our trees fresh every other day,” he said. “Trees that are shipped to various stores may have been cut as early as September. Not only are they shedding needles but they can be a fire hazard for your home.”
Brunk explains proper care to his customers, telling them to always cut a half-inch off the bottom of the tree trunk before it is placed in the tree stand. The new cut will get fresh sap running to help the tree stay fresh. Another tip he recommends is keep the tree well watered and water it with sugar water or add an aspirin to the water. The tree feeds off the sugar, which helps preserve it.
Some people may prefer to purchase a balled & burlapped pine tree for a holiday decoration and then plant outside in the spring. Brunk explains that live trees cannot be used in the home and then set outside when the decorations are removed.
“They must be gradually introduced to the cold weather,” he said. “They should be moved to a garage or enclosed porch for a period of time.”
The trees will be dormant until they begin their new growth usually the first or second week of May.
Brunk and his dad start their trees from seedlings, averaging 10,000 new plantings each spring. Trees are cut at around 10 years and balled and burlapped trees are dug at around seven years.
Operating a tree farm is a year round business. The Brunks fertilize trees in the spring and prune and mow during the summer months. They prepare for the Christmas season in the fall and wait for the ground to thaw in late winter-early spring to begin digging trees used for landscaping purposes. The business has a state inspected nursery license and is inspected yearly.
The Canadian Hemlock is the most common pine tree used in landscaping or for windbreaks because it is a fast growing variety. Dan Sr. also raises and sells Rhododendrons, Azaleas and shrubbery such as junipers, and blue rugs. The two men can be found at the weekly Carrollton Farmer’s Market from May-November and at area flea markets.
“Working with my dad from such a young age, pine trees just kind of grew on me. I learned everything from my dad,” said Dan. “I followed his advice every step of the way. He still works with me.”
His son, Brandon Brunk, 18, a senior at Carrollton High School, has been helping the elder Brunks from a young age, also. Dan has been teaching him the way his dad taught him.
Pine trees have “grown” on three generations of Brunk men and will continue growing in the future. “I guess we inherited it in our genes,” said Brunk.
Brunk Tree Farms will be selling cut and potted trees in the parking lot of Dollar General Market and TSC from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Dec. 24. Cut trees run $25-$40, potted trees $10-$40.
For any questions, contact Dan at 330-575-1336.