New Christmas tree farm opens in southern Jackson County



A recent visitor to S & B Christmas Tree Farm told owners Josh and Andrea Sheldon they were glad to have an opportunity to buy a tree in southern Jackson County.

The Kidd family had operated a Christmas tree farm nearby, but it closed 15 years ago.

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Now, the Sheldons live in a home, operate the business and have nearly 4 acres of Christmas trees planted in that area.

Another family recently visited from Nabb, which is about 45 minutes away. They found out about the farm through Facebook.

The Sheldon family hopes to see these families return and others come check out the farm so new traditions can develop.

“We’ve gotten good feedback on Facebook,” Josh said. “As far as sales, it’s not gotten there yet, so now, it’s just getting the people here. That’s kind of where we’re at. We’ve got the stuff here now. We’ve just got to have the people show up.”

Growing up, Andrea’s family bought Christmas trees from the Kidd family, so helping operate the same type of business in the same area is special.

After Christmas last year, Josh said they realized the southern end of the county needed to have a Christmas tree farm again.

The northern part of Jackson County has Roberts Tree Farm and Wynn’s Christmas Tree Farm, both in the Seymour area.

The time was right for the Sheldons to start their own.

“There’s really nothing in Scott County or Washington County, which we’re only 10, 15 minutes from there, so it’s a short drive from there,” Josh said.

“I farmed all of my life. This is the farm. We did tobacco for many years,” Andrea said. “I wanted to keep my kids in agriculture and make sure that they would continue that tradition.”

Josh said he began talking to other people who operate Christmas tree farms and did a lot of research on the internet. He came across three groups that have experience in the business.

“They are just very helpful,” he said. “If you have a question, you may get 20 answers in an hour. Everybody is very friendly and wants to help this business grow.”

Among the things he learned were what kind of trees would grow in the area, how long it would take for them to be ready to sell and what type of cover crop was best.

Douglas fir, Canaan fir, balsam fir and white pine can grow here, so in May, Josh planted 500 trees on nearly 4 acres of land just down the road from their house and business.

Starting with a bare root plant or quart container plant are the options. Josh chose the latter one since it has a root system with dirt around it.

“That’s a better success rate, so that’s what we switched to,” he said. “When we had to replace some in the fall that died from the spring, we switched to that, and so far, I’ve got 100 percent of those growing. That’s what we’re going to switch to from now on.”

The trees will grow about a foot a year, so it can take anywhere from five to 12 years until they are ready to harvest, Josh said.

“Some people want a 4-foot tree, so you might get that in five years,” he said. “It just depends on what people want.”

For the first five years of the business, the Sheldons will be selling trees grown at Wahmhoff Farms Nursery in Gobles, Michigan.

Andrea said that’s also where they bought their plants.

“As long as we buy stock, they supply trees to us until our farm is ready to start harvesting,” Josh said. “Fraser fir trees will not grow in this area, which is the No. 1 Christmas tree. Those are all shipped in from Michigan.”

This year, S & B is selling Fraser and Canaan fir trees. They also have Christmas wreaths and a small selection of tree supplies.

The farm is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 22 and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 16.

Santa Claus will be there from 1 to 4 p.m. the next two Saturdays. There will be photo booth opportunities inside and outside the garage along with hot chocolate, hot cider, popcorn, coffee and cookies.

The family looks forward to the future when they can start selling trees they grew themselves.

In the meantime, they will continue to work together to ensure the trees grow properly. That includes keeping them free of bagworms, deer and disease and mowing every couple of weeks so the cover crop doesn’t take over and kill the trees.

“That’s probably being on the picky side, but I know if I’m ahead of it, it’s a lot less work mowing than it is to go down and pull weeds,” Josh said.

After three to five years, he said they will have to start shearing the trees to shape them how they want them to look.

They also can expand to nearly 2,400 trees on the property.

“It’s a long-term commitment,” Andrea said.

“You’ve got trees in the ground, and it’s a gamble being in this area and being a new business,” Josh said. “We’ve got trees sitting out there, and you hope you can recoup your money on it.”

Josh and Andrea also said it’s good to have their 4-year-old twins, Blair and Sawyer, involved in the farm.

“(Sawyer) has been somewhat of a help,” Josh said. “(Blair) is a big help if it’s me and her. When we first planted and had to water, I would carry the buckets, and she would dip and water trees, so she was a big help and saved my back from bending over so many times. She helped plant, so she does a good job with that.”

The business provides supplemental income for their kids to go to college someday, and maybe their experience will influence them to take over the farm.

“It’s something the kids can take on if they choose to,” Josh said. “As far as being in agriculture and being able to still farm and do a normal job, you’re not going to work 12-hour shifts and do it. There’s no way. But if you have a job where you work eight to 10 hours a day and have a weekend off, you can still basically do this job.”

Besides managing the farm, Josh is an assistant manager at Sherwin-Williams in Seymour, and Andrea is a special education teacher at Medora Community Schools but will return to Margaret R. Brown Elementary School in Seymour on Dec. 20.

“It has been a learning experience,” Josh said of the Christmas tree farm. “It’s a major learning experience, and we’re still learning. I’m sure we’re going to continue to learn for many years.”

With the motto “Sharing our love of Christmas with you,” the Sheldons look forward to their farm becoming an annual tradition for families.

“That’s the thing is to provide a tradition for people to come get a tree that’s a live tree,” he said. “That’s the main thing right there.”

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S & B Christmas Tree Farm is at 7077 S. County Road 550E, Crothersville.

Fraser fir trees, Canaan fir trees, Christmas wreaths and a small selection of tree supplies are available for purchase.

The farm is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 22 and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 16.

Santa Claus will be there from 1 to 4 p.m. the next two Saturdays. There will be photo booth opportunities inside and outside the garage along with hot chocolate, hot cider, popcorn, coffee and cookies.

Information: Call 812-521-5172, email [email protected] or visit

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Facts about real Christmas trees

1. Growing, using and recycling real Christmas trees is good for the environment. Research shows a natural tree is much friendlier to the environment when compared to an artificial tree, which has three times the amount of impact on climate change and resource depletion when compared to a real tree. Artificial trees will sit in a landfill for centuries.

2. For every real Christmas tree harvested, one new tree is planted.

3. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, and they can be recycled or reused for mulch.

4. Real Christmas trees provide real business for real farmers. They are a crop farmer-planted and hand-harvested specifically for people to enjoy.

5. The search for a real Christmas tree creates a special experience. From the scent to the search, no artificial tree can replace the experience and the memories of selecting a real Christmas tree with family and friends.

Source: It’s Christmas. Keep It Real.


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