Dickess Tree Farm keeping tradition alive

Published 10:04 pm Saturday, November 29, 2008

For Noelle Wood of Chesapeake, the trek out to the Dickess Tree Farm is as much a part of Christmas as caroling, holiday baking and wrapping packages.

And although Wood is only 21, she knows she will never have anything in her home but a live Christmas tree.

“I don’t think I will ever get a fake tree,” she said Saturday after she, her sister and her father got together to pick out this year’s Scotch pine. “It makes it so much better. The smell. I don’t think I’d switch.”

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This time it took the trio about 45 minutes to pick out the biggest tree they could find — one that will not be dwarfed by the 14-foot ceiling where it will stand through December.

“We make this a family tradition. It was exciting for us kids to know we would go to the tree farm,” she said.

Wood’s mother has an extensive collection of Santa Claus ornaments even unique ones like an alligator Santa.

“Anything you can make out of Santa,” she said.

Next weekend the family will tackle the tree itself, stringing on a thousand red and white lights and all those dangling reminders of the jolly one himself.

It’s a story that Keith Dickess has heard all his life. His father, also named Keith, started the tree farm 32 years ago. Now the younger Dickess runs the farm that is a year-round operation.

Opened for weekend business the first of November, the tree farm switched to seven days after Thanksgiving and will be open 9 a.m. until dark until Dec. 22. Trees can be picked out now and put on layaway or taken that day.

If it’s a layaway, the customer will give Dickess the date for pickup so the tree will be freshly cut.

“Whatever date they have on the receipt, we will have it cut that date,” Dickess said. “That way they are fresh cut. That is the main calling card.”

And as long as the tree is watered the first week it is brought into a household, it will stay fresh and green throughout the holidays and beyond, Dickess says.

“That first week, that is when they take in the most water,” he said.

The farm features scotch and white pine, spruce and fir. Those last two were brought on board in 1999 and are now the most popular picks.

“It is more of the newer type trees that are out there,” he said. “They do have stiffer limbs to hold the heavier ornaments and the aroma is incredible.”