f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Christmas tree wonderland

Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at 12:00 AM

Dec. 6, 1961 Southeast Missourian

Eugene Seabaugh uses a power sprayer to convert a Yuletide tree into a gaily colored object that will be a delight to someone on Christmas morning. Note pile of trees on the right, covered to preserve moisture. (G.D. Fronabarger photo)

Christmas Tree Wonderland Just North of Cape Girardeau

There's a Christmas tree wonderland only a few miles from Cape Girardeau, a section of the Eugene Seabaugh farm near Oak Ridge converted in the last five years to production of trees for the holiday market.

Mr. Seabaugh has planted some 42,000 trees since then and has cut 450 in the past two weeks to be sold in Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Lutesville-Marble Hill.

Article Sparked Interest

A magazine article prompted Mr. Seabaugh to go into the business. He had purchased an 80-acre tract in 1953 for grain production. But the account of Christmas tree farming intrigued him and he followed through.

Working with Al W. Hoskin of the Missouri Conservation Service, he obtained trees from the state nursery at Licking. Seedlings two and three years old were first planted in 1956.

Richard F. Holekamp, state farm forester, arranged for a tree planter and the 42,000 trees were planted in three-year rotation in 1956, 1957 and 1958.

Good Soil Needed

Information at the time indicated trees would grow on poor ground. Mr. Seabaugh said this isn't true, and the richer the soil the better they grow, and the richer the color. Considerable care and cultivation also is necessary, he said. Many production methods have been tried.

In the past four years some trees have been cut and sold largely on a test basis. This year a full tree selling program is underway. The trees are cut with hand saws and placed on a two-wheeled wagon pulled by a pickup truck. At a work place they are sprayed. Trees are available in size from table use to seven and eight feet in height.

Trees are sorted, then grouped according to size and covered with burlap to preserve moisture.

Mr. and Mrs. Seabaugh are members of the Missouri Christmas Tree Producers Association and he is a past director.


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