Santa’s Evergreens offer cut-your-own-trees close to homeIt’s the time of year when local Christmas tree growers send off their carefully nurtured and manicured product to brighten homes for the holidays. But it’s not as simple as planting the trees and watching them grow – just ask Don and Linda Flatt of Santa’s Evergreens.
By: Margaret Ontl, Hudson Star-Observer
It’s the time of year when local Christmas tree growers send off their carefully nurtured and manicured product to brighten homes for the holidays.
But it’s not as simple as planting the trees and watching them grow – just ask Don and Linda Flatt of Santa’s Evergreens.
The couple lives on five acres south of Hudson, and over the years the acreage has provided the family with loads of fun and work. For years they truck-farmed, raising vegetables for sale and market as Flatt’s Fresh Produce. As time when by and the children grew up, the couple raised cattle and shifted to producing hay.
In 1990, the Flatts changed course by planting 1,000 evergreens. Today, after a steep learning curve, they offer top-notch quality Fraser firs, balsam, spruce and pines.
Don and Linda Flatt admit that the first year, the weeds and lack of water put a damper on their prospects for a tree farm. Don, who is retired from 3M, persisted, and between 1995 and 1996 they planted 5,000 more trees.
“If you have a purpose, everything in life goes better,” said Linda, of their retirement hobby. The family pitches in every weekend, with children, grandchildren and in-laws coming out to help.
“We also feel if you take something from the earth you should give something back,” said Linda. “These trees will be here.”
“If you are not a farmer at heart this is not the hobby for you,” said Don, who learned about weed control, shearing and propagation on the “job” and with the help of trade organizations.
“In 1998 we sold our first Scotch pine tree,” said Don. “We sold 18 trees that year.”
“It is not a hobby for the impatient,” said Don. “You do not see many young folks in this business. For a Fraser fir or balsam, it takes up to eight or nine years to grow. At this time we have some gorgeous 14-foot ones that are perfect for today’s cathedral ceilings.”
“We have short ones, fat ones, tall, skinny ones,” said Don. “If you come out here and you can’t find a tree you have got a problem.”
Don and Linda offer a long list of services to make sure families and individuals have a great time. They explain the varieties of trees available and provide visitors with a saw. Help is available to bring the tree in from the field, shake and bale it, as well as carry and tie it to customers’ cars. The grounds offer a variety of Christmas figures and features Santa’s house manned by Linda.
“We are very accommodating and want the whole family to enjoy their visit,” said Linda.
“The good thing is that people are having fun and they are in a good mood,” said Don, who said the trees are available for landscaping as well. They have a great selection of Black Hills spruce, which are particularly suited to this climate.
Santa’s Evergreens is open weekdays, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or by appointment. For more information, call (715) 386-5650 or (702) 373-0083 or visit www.Santasevergreens.com.
The business is located at 615 Northern Lights Trail — go to I-94 Exit 4, turn right and continue south on Gilbert Road for 1.5 miles. Signs are posted.