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Christmas tree

Cathy Genovese and the Living Christmas Tree

Cathy Genovese talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR

Candy Cane CHRISTmas Tree Farm was started by Frank and Cathy Genovese in 1977.  They participate in the Trees for Troops program.

“Growers from 29 states donate trees that go to soldiers around the country and world, and we’re proud to be the Eastern Michigan drop-off point this year,” Genovese says.  “The trees are delivered to bases around the United States.”

In 1998, they transformed the field by being the first choose and cut farm in Michigan to install drip irrigation.  This allows them to grow more varieties with better quality, greater health and needle retention.

“We were the first farm in Oakland County to be MAEAP-certified,” says Genovese.  “Drip irrigation and hand-planting are some of the initiatives involved in integrated pest management that we incorporate on the farm.”

Genovese believes her farm plays an important role in family ecology.

“The family comes out together and it’s beneficial for them to be together in an environment that’s happy and wholesome,” she says.  “Then when they get the tree home, they can enjoy the 500-year-old tradition of decorating living trees for the home.”

Genovese says that fresh-cut trees enhance the earth while they’re growing and then again after their use in the home if they’re disposed of properly.

“Many counties offer wonderful recycling programs where Christmas trees can by recycled in to wood chips for park pathways, for example,” says Genovese.  “You can also set up the tree in the yard an hang bird food from it to get another season’s value out of the tree.

Then in 2003, Frank began trials to grow living Christmas trees in pots as a response to those who told him they did not want to cut a tree and others who expressed a desire to plant the trees in their yards after finishing with them at Christmas.

“We use a system called pot-in-pot where we grow the trees in the ground in a pot inside another pot,” Genovese says.  “That allows the roots to stay cool and the trees keep 100 percent of their root system as they grow.”

Click on the arrow above to hear Genovese’s December 10 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk HeinzeGreening of the Great Lakes airs Friday evenings at 7 on News/Talk 760 WJR.

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