Daniken Tree Farm
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A year at Daniken Tree Farm
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Real tree care
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A Year at Daniken Tree Farm

New Christmas Trees arrive at Daniken Tree Farm in early April in the form of seedlings. Seedlings are baby trees that look a lot like small sticks with roots. They don't look like much as a tree-planting machine plants them, but with proper care they quickly take root to begin their journey to become full size Christmas Trees.

After all the new trees have been planted, a thin wood stake is placed next to each tree to assist it in straight growth. Daniken Tree FarmEach tree is tied to its respective stake to keep the wind and rain from blowing the tree around and causing it to grow crooked. This really pays off when you get your tree home and put it up in your stand.

As spring warms to summer, the trees begin to make their yearly growth. This usually starts in early May and is concluded by early June. The larger trees 3 years old and older are then readied for shearing. In order for the larger trees to continue growing straight, the single branch at the top of the tree, called the leader, must be tied up to keep the trunk straight in the future. The ring of branches around the leader, called a whorl, must also be thinned down to five or six branches to maintain the proper density and shape of the tree. Every year, ten people work 2-3 weeks in June to ready the trees for shearing. This is some of the hardest and hottest work done at the tree farm.

Once the tops of the trees have been straightened, shearing can begin. The new growth on the trees is cut by what appears at first glance to be a modified weed eater. In fact the shearing machines are specially designed to shear Christmas trees. The new growth on each tree is cut to give the tree a classic 70° taper. This sharp angle gives each tree a beautiful combination of density and shape. For customers who have planted live trees in the past, mid-June to mid-July is the perfect time to shear their trees at home. No special equipment is required for a few trees. Common hedge shears work great. To get the right amount of taper, just think of an upside down ice cream cone.

Throughout the spring, summer and fall, the trees are mowed as needed to keep the weeds down between the rows and to facilitate walking and working in the tree rows. This and the occasional spraying of pests and weeds keeps the Danikens busy all summer long.

When the leaves start to change colors in September, preparations begin for the Christmas season. All trees that will be harvested that year are measured and given individual price tags based on height and beauty. After the trees have been tagged, they are mowed a final time to make the tree farm accessible and attractive. By this time it is nearly October and the tree farm begins to bustle with activity. The live trees that are sold each year are beginning to be dug up and burlapped. These trees are always some of the best trees on the farm to ensure survivability for the customer. While the live trees are being dug, the tree farm is thoroughly cleaned decorated wreathsand scrubbed from top to bottom and all harvesting equipment is checked over to prevent a breakdown during the selling season.

In the middle of November, Mrs. Daniken and her talented staff produce a variety of gorgeous home and business decorations. These include wreaths, grave blankets, roping, and other styles of festive decorations made from fresh greenery. During the first 10 to 14 days of the season, there are usually more than 200 wreaths to choose from. They are available decorated or undecorated, and vary in size from 10" to 54".

Daniken Tree Farm opens the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Once the tree barn is open, the pace for workers doesn't slow down until the day before Christmas. Many trees are harvested to be displayed and sold in the indoor and outdoor display areas. Other trees are left in the field to be freshly harvested by individual customers. The trees and customers are given a wagon ride back to the tree barn where all the trees get the dead needles shaken out of them and are prepared for tree stands. Before the trees are loaded into the customer's vehicle, they are baled. Baling shrinks the diameter of a tree by pulling it through a cone and wrapping it with netting at the same time. The tree isn't damaged and will fit conveniently into cars and homes. After the tree is put in the stand, the netting is cut with a pair of scissors and the tree returns to its original shape.

When customers visit Daniken Tree Farm, our goal is to provide the best shopping experience possible.

Illinois Christmas TreesThis starts as customers are welcomed to the farm and shown where to look for trees. Out in the tree fields, our staff will even do the cutting for you if that's what you prefer. After we give you a ride back to the barn we take the tree and the next time you see it, your tree will be ready to load into your vehicle. The same level of service holds true for trees displayed at the tree barn. After you pick one out, our staff will get it and take care of baling and prepare it for loading. All of our trees have a two part ID tag applied when they are chosen by a customer, with one portion of the tag given to the customer. After payment, customers can retrieve their trees by matching the ID tags with their trees. We offer a loading service which functions as a drive through. You can sit in the comfort of your vehicle while we load your tree. Even the parking lot at Daniken Tree Farm is geared to help the customer. Many other rural farms have only a small grass parking lot that becomes a swamp after the slightest rain. Our parking lot is packed limestone so there's no chance of getting stuck or even spinning. We even have enough parking for our busiest days. Besides, even if you don't park next to the entrance, we do all the carrying for you. We still leave the hard part, picking the best tree on the farm, up to you.

A year at Daniken Tree Farm | Choosing the perfect tree | Real tree care
Balled & burlapped tree care | Gift Shop | Price list
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