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Newspaper Archive of
Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
Mason County Journal
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News of Mason County, WA
June 17, 1971     Shelton Mason County Journal
PAGE 45     (45 of 70 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 45     (45 of 70 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
June 17, 1971
 

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9 -'- - - --1. * ....... v4 ,~*,L~ a4.L ju e qons flu!punI ~o1 A~.l!qlssod fled s~ iIounoD leq~iL t[s~tuo~lo:~S KI~ pu~ 'plUS ~%~S 's~sodxnd ut:)ns:~tt), 3o d~x~slosuods :~tl% 1~pun The bright lights on trees from Mason County pop the eyes of boys and girls in two million homes every year on Christmas morn- ing. Christmas trees produced here are shipped as far south as Mexico City, east to Kansas, and west to the Philippines. California gets 80 percent of the crop. That's why Shelton has earned its unique nickname of "Christmastown, U.S.A." This is the place where Santa stops to load his sleigh with fragrant, feathery green firs and pines, grown for the purpose of making Christmas merry for millions. Mason County is the leading producer in Washington and Oregon of high quality Christ- mas trees grown by scientific methods on sus- tained yield tree farms. The county has an estimated 80,000 acres in these farms, ranging in size from 20 to 20,000 acres. The wholesale value of the crop at Shelton is estimated at between $2 and $3 million a year by Fred Peste, production manager of the Douglas Fir Christmas Tree Company, one of the larger operators. Today's holiday tree market demands qual- ity, so that successful growers aim for a prod- uct with buyer appeal which is defined as "trees that are dense, uniform, dark green in color, with fresh green foliage and a well-bal- anced crown of evenly spaced whorls that sweep gently upward." WOIRKING AT TOP SPEED to meet a market deadline, these workers are among hundreds employed in processing yards and on tree farms as Mason County's annual Christmas tree crop is harvested. In order to get this quality Mason County growers during the past 30 years have devel- oped elaborate techniques for cultivating, fer- tilizing, harvesting, and marketing. Washing- ton State University specialists aid the indus- try with marketing analyses and by develop- ing methods of controlling pests and improving shipping methods. It takes from 10 to 12 years to bring a Douglas fir farm into full production. After that a yearly average of 40 trees can be har- vested perpetually on sustained, yield opera- tions. New trees sprout from the stumps of harvested trees. Harvesting begins about the second week in November and continues until December 15. A small army of men and women move into the tree farms and the concentration yards. In the latter the trees are graded, processed, and load- ed for shipment by truck or boxcar. The crews are working against time in or- der to hit the market so that it's a high speed operation all down the line from the sites where the trees are cut to the ordered confu- sion of the yards where the graders are chant- ing their verdicts and the cut-off saws are whining. The big harvesting operation gives employment to about 1,000 Mason County workers. They average $20 a day in wages for six weeks. In addition about 200 year-round workers are employed in planting, thinning, pruning, and other farm work. O I O ocal mid, ist ,.s I eer arrest O I) Mason County Branch 3rd & Cota, Shelton Belfair Branch, Belfair Page 5-72- Shelton-Mason County Journal- Thursday, June 17, 1971 THIS WOIRRIX, F-IR is putting Christmas trees through a bundling machine in one of the yards where the holiday crop is made ready for buyers all over the U.S.A. At left, loaded truck starts out of the brush. Thursday, June 17, 1971 - Shelton-Mason County Journal- Page S-21