Branching Out Into the Tree Business

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Thanksgiving is over, now many local residents are getting ready for Christmas. And just as retail stores are busy with customers buying presents for loved ones, Keith McDaniel, is busy making sure residents have a tree for the presents to go under.

McDaniel owns of Kelumac Christmas tree farm in Bryan. He spends the entire year getting ready for the busy Holiday season and he says this is not the career he planned for.

"I just have a friend that said you ought to plant some trees and grow some Christmas Trees so I did and it was history," McDaniel said.

McDaniel started planting Christmas trees in 1988, but it wasn't until 1992 that he sold his first tree.

"It takes about three to four years to have your first sellable tree, then after that it's a matter of watering your seedlings and getting them growing," he explained.

Since he started selling his trees, families from all over the Brazos Valley have been coming to his farm in north Bryan. McDaniel has pine, cedar and cypress trees on his farm, and each holiday season he sells about 150-200 trees. Some visitors that want fresh trees, even chop down their own tree.

But McDaniel says even the freshest tree needs special care.

"The first day it will suck up the most water and that the main thing," he said. "Keep water on it and you shouldn't have a problem and use good lights."

McDaniel also says to cut off the trunk one half inch from the bottom before putting the tree in the stand.

With simple techniques like these, he says many families will still have a fresh tree on Christmas Day, something he works for all year.