HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - For a lot of families, going to a farm to cut down their own Christmas tree has been a tradition, but that tradition is getting harder to come by in North Alabama.
Almost everything done on a Christmas tree farm is done by hand. "All of the trees need to be sheered which is shaped twice a year," Valley Christmas Tree Plantation owner George Brown.
Brown manages the weeds by walking through every row of trees. "Then you got to plant trees," he said. "That's all done by hand."
Brown has been doing it for decades. "When you're in your 70's you just can't do what you used to be able to do in your 20's and 30's," said Brown.
For a 70-year-old man who owns a Christmas tree farm, the easiest thing he can do right now is dip a whole bunch of wreaths in a tub of preservatives so they'll last beyond the end of the holiday season.
But after this year, Brown is shutting down his business.
At its peak, Brown had two tree farms. "We were probably doing six, seven thousand trees a year in the area."
Time is taking its toll now. "44 years is wear and tear on the body," he said.
Brown has 200 trees left and plans to sell them all starting Black Friday.
Once the trees are gone, Brown said, "they're gone." And so will the tradition of cutting down a tree at Valley Christmas Tree Plantation.
Schwerman Christmas Tree Plantation will shut down after this Christmas season too. Come next year, the closest Christmas tree farms to Huntsville will be Trim-A-Tree Farm in Athens and Thornhill Christmas Tree Farm in Pisgah.