Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association



Calendar of Events

Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association Wednesday, August 20, 2014
CTCGTA Twilight Meeting
Oak Ridge Tree Farm
Middletown, CT

Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association Saturday, August 23, 2014
MCTA Annual Meeting
Hosts: Thomas and Cynthia Cranston & Family
Cranston's Tree Farm
372 Baptist Corner Road
Ashfield, MA 01330
8:00 am - 3:00 pm

The Cranston Tree Farm is comprised of 170 scenic acres with 40 acres devoted to the cultivation of Christmas trees (Balsam, Concolor and Fraser), 30 acres to hay land, and the remaining acreage to scenic woodland. Farm transitions are occurring as the younger generation takes on more responsibility.  Tom and Cynthia started planting Christmas trees in 1980, selling their first 50 trees in 1989. Much has changed in the ensuing years.  Because they still sell over 50% of their trees wholesale, they pay close attention to studies on needle retention and post-harvest keep ability. By taking soil samples on a regular basis, they have been able to correct soil nutrient deficiencies through a fertilizer program tailored to the farm. They monitor balsam twig aphid and spruce spider mite populations, as well as elongated hemlock scale. The Cranstons have developed an herbicide program and also interplant their fields. Over the last 3 years, they have lost between 3 and 4 thousand trees due to various reasons that will be discussed.

As a result of a combination of marketing programs, including a website and a business presence on Facebook, an indoor sales area, a cash register, tree carts, and caricatures, the Cranston's retail business has grown to nearly 40% of all sales.

  • 8:00 - 9:00   Registration: Coffee, donuts, socialize, visit vendors
  • 9:00 - 9:20   Welcome: Introductions, meeting agenda and farm history.
  • 9:20 - 10:00   Annual Meeting: Rob Leab - MCTA Annual Business Meeting (see agenda)
  • 10:00 - 10:15   Vendors: Introduction and synopsis of products and services.
  • 10:15 - 11:00   Cranston Tree Farm: Cynthia and Seth Cranston - Retail aspects of the farm.
  • 11:00-12:00   Nicholas J. Brazee, PhD.
    Dr. Brazee is an Extension Plant Pathologist at Umass and has a B.S. in forestry from UMass-Amherst, a M.S. in forest pathology from University of Washington, and PhD. in forest pathology from UMass-Amherst. He will be diagnosing and discussing the various Christmas tree diseases encountered on the Cranston's Tree Farm including treatment options currently available to the grower.

    Producing quality Christmas trees can be a balancing act: which pests occur, what weather conditions and environmental factors come into play, and having the information you need to answer each new question. In this session, we will discuss some of the insect, disease, and weed issues that were important in 2013 and 2014 and control strategies for them. Then we will look at strategies for record keeping and some resources that can help keep you ahead of the pests!
  • 12:00 1:00   Lunch BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR(S)
  • 1:00 3:00   Farm tour and IPM Practices Dr. Nicholas J. Brazee and Thomas G. Cranston
    We'll use the Cranston's Tree Farm as our classroom to see how Tom applies weed control practices, fertilization, and mowing to grow his trees.  We will also discuss how knowing the soil type and water movement on the farm can help with site specific planting, and discuss the challenges in controlling some of the Christmas tree diseases encountered on the farm.
  • 1:00   Decorating a real Christmas Tree
    Maryellen Cranston will introduce Sara Delany who will demonstrate the art and science of decorating a Christmas tree. Maryellen will give a synopsis of "Christmas Crafts for the Cure" project she and Jennie Markens created to raise money to support the prevention and cure of breast cancer. Many of the exquisite handmade ornaments Ashfield women made and donated will be on display.

Directions: Do not use GPS on Route 116

  • Northbound on I-91 use Exit 24, follow Rte. 116 N for 14 miles to Ashfield Center, turn right onto Baptist Corner Rd.; proceed .7 mile. Cranston Tree Farm is on the right.
  • Southbound on I-91 use Exit 25, follow Rte. 116 N for 12.5 miles to Ashfield Center, turn right onto Baptist Corner Rd.; proceed .7 mile. Cranston Tree Farm is on the right.
  • From Pittsfield and points west: Take Rte. 9 East to Goshen, MA; turn left onto Rte. 112 North; turn right onto Rte. 116 South/Main St., Ashfield. Go 1 mile; turn left onto Baptist Corner Rd.; proceed .7 mile. Cranston Tree Farm is on the right.

Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association September 5 & 6, 2014
North Carolina CTA Semi-Annual Meeting & Tour
Jackson County, NC

Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association Saturday, September 20, 2014
Fall Annual Meeting
Angevine Family Farm
Warren, CT


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