Hidden among forests composed of elms, oaks and redbuds is one of the best kept Christmas secrets in southeast Oklahoma.
Lush, dense conifers wait in rows a few miles south of Savanna High School at Red Barn Christmas Tree Farm, operated by Steve and Betty Bruckner.
With the selection period open each year at Thanksgiving, Betty said she usually lets customers walk through the parcels to select their own trees, but gives advice.
"Just remember, the tree will look smaller in the field than in your house," Betty said. "You do not want to move all the furniture just to put the tree"
How it started
Steve is a retired lawyer, but he found pbadion for cultivation when he grew a batch of pumpkins in only 5 years.
"I had lots of pumpkins to put in my little Red Flyer car and drive through the neighborhood," said Steve.
The Bruckners opened the Red Barn Christmas tree farm in 1983, but the trees began to grow about five years before opening the store.
Steve said the idea of the Christmas tree farm came from the fun he had as a child during large family gatherings.
Betty said the farm sells 300-350 trees per person per year to the local population, some from the Dallas area, and even sold trees to people as far away as San Antonio, Texas.
She said that a family from the Dallas area has been buying trees from the Bruckners for 18 years.  The farm has three ponds to supply water through drip irrigation to the tree plots.  The couple also trims and maintains the trees throughout the summer when the heat can reach three digits.
"It's a lot of work," Betty said. "But then, at Christmas, it's really fun."
Types of trees
The Bruckners grow and sell mainly Virginia pines after a recent drought affected the white pines.
"We use to have white pines, but they do not like dry weather at all," Betty said. "When we reached that really dry spell about 5 years ago, it was devastating for them."
Virginia pine "is a medium-sized pine with two needles" that reaches a height of 50-75 feet at maturity (50 years) and "several thousand acres of land are planted annually in Virginia pine. ", according to the Forest Service of the US Department of Agriculture. UU
The Forest Service indicates that the native range of Virginia pine "extends from southern New Jersey west to Pennsylvania and southern Ohio, southern South Carolina, northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and northern Mississippi .
Tests of Virginia pine plantations "in the Cross Timbers area of Oklahoma varied with moisture availability" and "survival rates are mostly very high," according to Forestry Service.
But that's not the only type of tree offered at Red Barn Christmas Tree Farm.
"We ordered the Fraser firs from North Carolina and will be here on Thanksgiving weekend or the week before." Betty said. "They are tremendously beautiful"
The Bruckners have a building to protect the Fraser firs from the inclemency of the weather.
Fraser firs are native evergreen coniferous trees that usually reach 50-60 feet in height and have almost – Soft bark, according to the Forest Service.
The Forest Service states that the trees are populated "at higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee," but are grown for Christmas trees and planted as ornamental.
Betty said that trees are not usually fire hazards until they are dry and dry, but warned customers not to place trees by the chimney or under a vent.
He said that Thanksgiving is usually the best time to get a tree and the deadline to get it usually goes until December 21.
The store also offers decorations, books for children and some toys for the holiday season.
Also available are greenery, centerpieces, gifts and decorations, including Old World and Christopher Radko ornaments and designer ribbons.
Betty also makes garlands and garlands live at the top of the store, while artificial options are also available.
It also offers decoration services: "I always say artificial inside, I live outside, except for your Christmas tree," he said.
Betty said she makes suggestions along the way, but leaves clients mostly making their own selections.
The bruckners also make their own decorations as they usually bring a 13-foot tree to the gift shop in a post that contains five gallons of water.
"The third day you've been here, I could add another two gallons because you drink water," Betty said. "Fresh trees drink water, and of course, it's also a tall tree, not a small one."
The store is hidden in Blanco, just a few miles from Savanna High School at 2552 S. Brewer Road.
Customers can take the US 69 freeway to Savanna High School, turn on Brewer Road and travel approximately 2.6 miles south.
Signs will be placed on the road while the store is open.
The store is open from Thanksgiving through December 21 of each year. His hours are 12-5 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday; 10 a.m. at 5 p.m. Saturdays; and 12: 30-5p.m. Sundays.
Red Barn Christmas Tree Farm can be reached at 918-548-3347.
Contact Adrian O & # 39; Hanlon III at [email protected]