Lawton_A live Christmas tree is almost a thing of the past. But a couple in Jackson County wants to keep the tradition alive. Thanks to the drought of the last ten years it's been hard for Albert and Sylvia Sasse to keep the tradition alive at Sandy Hills Christmas Tree Farm. But, since we've had some wet weather the Sasses are giving it another shot this year.
The couple is dedicated to this tradition and run the only Christmas tree farm west of I-35. Once upon a time, Sylvia Sasse's tree farm was the home of 17,000 trees. That was twenty years ago and now they're down to 2,000 thanks to almost a dozen years of drought. Sasse had two wells put in to bring in more water to keep the trees healthy. But, those wells have gone dry so keeping the trees firm and beautiful takes a lot of TLC.
"No machinery," she says. "We have to go around and deal with them one by one." Each one is manicured individually by hand. It's that special touch that Sasse hopes families will come to the farm for; the individual quality that families will enjoy when they choose their own unique tree and cut it down together.
Sasse says it will take about ten good years of moisture to make up for the loss from the drought - something that's not in the forecast. So, just like any farmer they will have to take it as it comes. "Don't know what the future will be," she says.
The good news is in this year's crop. Sasse says since it's been wetter the trees are taller than they've been in recent years past. She says she has a nice healthy crop compared to last year - their worst year for growth.
If you're in the market for a live Christmas tree this year, head on over to Sandy Hills Christmas Tree Farm 6 miles north of the Altus Wal-Mart on Highway 283 - 3 1/3 miles east and 1/3 mile south. Follow the link for directions or give them a call at 580-563-2017.