Agritourism Brings Visitors and Income to Rural Areas

Lee Fields  |  12/8/2016 10:24:06 PM

Agritourism gives rural economies a boost in the fall. Because of mild weather conditions this year, many of our pumpkin patches, corn mazes and farm tours will extend their season into November giving guests an opportunity to visit more than once.

After Thanksgiving many families will return to the farm again to shop for Christmas trees. Most of the farms have farm related activities for the children to enjoy before or after shopping for their tree.

Christmas tree farms provide an opportunity for families to shop for the tree together. Before going to the farm, discuss with your family the type and size of tree you want so that when you are greeted at the farm you can give the owner your Christmas tree wish list.

Did you know that 98% of Christmas trees are grown on Christmas tree farms. Christmas tree farms add oxygen to the atmosphere and create a habitat for wildlife. Once harvested new trees can be planted and the harvested trees can be used to mulch or be placed in ponds for fish habitats.

Louisiana has lots of Christmas tree farms and most of them are listed on one or both of these websites: http://www.southernchristmastrees.org/ and http://pickyourownchristmastree.org/. In addition to helping you locate a tree, these websites offer helpful information in how to select and care for your tree.

Live trees can last for weeks if properly cared for. Here are some suggestions:

  • Remove a ½ inch disk of wood from the base of the trunk before placing the tree in the stand. This cut should be perpendicular to the tree; cutting at an angle or using a “v” cut will make it difficult to place in the tree stand.
  • Select a tree stand that has a bowl that can accommodate water. The recommended bowl size is one quart of water per inch of tree diameter.
  • Select a stand that accommodates the diameter of your tree. For best results, never whittle down the tree to fit the stand, you will be removing the outer layer of wood that is the most efficient in taking up water.
  • Water the tree immediately when you arrive home; if you are not ready to place it in the stand, put it in a bucket with water. Keeping your tree hydrated will prevent browning and needle loss.
  • Water the tree daily; make sure that the base of the tree is standing in water. The temperature of the water is not important; either hot or cold works.
  • Finally, place your tree away from heat sources: fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight. Lowering your thermostat is also recommended.
  • Select lights with low heat to reduce the drying of the tree. Inspect your light sets for safety before hanging them on the tree. Use an extension cord or multi-plug device to avoid an electrical overload.

To learn more about agritourism, contact Dora Ann Hatch with the LSU AgCenter.

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