A Naramata Christmas tree grower says that leaving just one branch attached to the stump will allow the tree to regrow in half the time. (File photo)

Leave a limb, save a tree

Cutting down a Christmas tree doesn’t have to be the end of the story

Three years ago, Rod Hollett made a mistake in his Christmas tree farm, and now he says it’s opened his eyes to a different way to care for his trees.

“You don’t have to kill a tree,” he said, meaning the usual practice of cutting a Christmas tree as close to the ground as possible. “If you leave a limb, you haven’t killed a tree.”

Hollett, who owns the Christmas tree farm at Naramata and Davenport Roads, accidentally left a bottom branch on the stump of a tree, and later noticed that branch was standing vertically.

“Now I’ve got one that is three years old and it is filling out,” he said. “That branch actually stands right up in a year and by the second year, it starts to fill out. The third year it looks like a Christmas tree.”

Hollett says by the fourth year, he expects it to be ready to go home as a Christmas tree, rather than the eight years it takes for a nursery seedling.

“I’ve been doing this for quite a few years, selling trees, but I never knew that by leaving a limb, it would grow again.”

For the last couple of years, Hollett has been asking people that come to his Naramata farm to leave a bottom branch attached to the stump when they cut a tree. Most are willing, he said.

“You wouldn’t believe how willing they are to leave a limb. Nobody wants to kill a tree,” said Hollett. He’s hoping that people who head out into the bush to find a Christmas tree might adopt the same strategy.

“If they knew to leave a limb, I bet that everybody that everybody that goes up in the forest would do that,” said Hollett. “Then they could go back in four years and cut the same tree down.”

“So the tree is six inches shorter. It isn’t going to hurt anything,” said Hollett, adding that many people cut off the lower limbs at home anyway, to make the tree fit the pot or stand.

Hollett thinks the tree starts regrowing to quickly is the root system is putting all its energy into that single branch.

“The stump is mature now, so it is feeding that tree tons of food. It was used to feeding an eight-foot tree, and now it is feeding a branch. It just takes off.,” said Hollett. “It’s a four-year time period vs. the little guy you put in there is eight years.”

But when you cut a stump down, its dead, with no chance to regrow, he said.

“I thought it would be good to end the Christmas season with something that saves a tree,” said Hollett.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A firefighter descends the ladder truck after checking on the upper floors of the Clarence House apartment building after a fire broke out Tuesday morning. See story on page 5. 
 (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

A firefighter descends the ladder truck after checking on the upper floors of the Clarence House apartment building after a fire broke out Tuesday morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

MLA Dan Ashton (Contributed)
Penticton MLA won’t seek leadership of B.C. Liberals

Dan Ashton believes a moderate leader with broad appeal is needed

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A four-vehicle accident on the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous destroyed two cars and a section of bridge guardrail but remarkably injured no one. (Sicamous RCMP Image)
Sicamous’ Bruhn Bridge site of two collisions

Although a total of five vehicles were involved, no one was injured

Steven Gardner in an Instagram selfie that contributed to his arrest.
Receipt plus Instagram selfie leads to arrest of Kamloops man

Steven Gardner is facing three firearms charges

Most Read