Arbor Day Feature: Happy Trees, Roses Thrive at Organic Tree Farm – By Beth Shumate

McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureau, 321 N. Central Expwy, Ste 101, McKinney TX 75070, (214) 544-1407, 888-649-8499

McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureau

McKinney, TX — The trees at Chambersville Tree Farms are pampered, receiving only the best food, living conditions and a scenic view with wide open spaces to spread their branches. What more could a tree ask for, especially during a week when the nation is celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day

Chambersville Tree Farms, Collin Countys only completely organic tree farm, sits on a 10-plus acre section of Dean Oswalds 266 acres a mere 10 minutes northwest of McKinney. The remainder of the acreage is filled with rolling wooded hills, ponds, lush iris and rose bushes.

Everything we do is organic. We dont use any herbicide, and we harvest rain water from the roof of the barn, Oswald says, pointing to several large cisterns located behind the barn.

This water is added to liquid drawn from the farms compost mixture of bark and dairy cow manure.

We only use dairy cow compost, never any sludge or anything containing human waste.

Oswald points to a good-sized pond across from rows of magnolia trees.

That pond collects water, too. Its 15 feet deep and its full now, as it was last year with all the rains, but I mowed the bottom of that pond during the drought of 2006. That drought nearly killed us, Oswald said.

The farm, which Oswald bought in the late 1990s and opened in 2004, shows no sign of suffering this year, though. In fact, Oswald and his crew of about a dozen are busy this spring expanding the tree portion of the farms to around 15 acres.

Were adding new fields and setting up additional irrigation, Oswald said, stopping to inspect some new rows of bald cypress trees part of his crew were working with.

The crew members were removing nearly 6-foot tall trees from plastic pots and placing them in the special white fabric pots favored at the farm for the way they stimulate and support healthy root growth.

Working at a steady pace, crew members placed the pots a carefully-measured distance apart, filling them with rich soil from the conveyer belt of a large trailer. Once new rows are complete, a sophisticated tubing system is put into place, running along the rows and directing the organic drink into the trees.

Larger trees are repotted into planter boxes the farm crew custom makes in the shop on the premises. These are located in the more mature tree section of the farm.

The trees raised at the farm were not grown from seeds here, but are instead brought in from other farms as small trees, Oswald and his farm manager Chad Simmons, a degreed biologist, explained. Both men share interesting stories about some of the unique varieties found on the farm, including a prehistoric-era tree found in a Chinese monastery many years after it was thought to be extinct.

The Chambersville Tree Farms offer every imaginable type of free, from a wide variety of crape myrtles, oaks, elms, magnolias and a large grove of varying sizes of Japanese maples.

This Burr Oak is like the tree we donated to the [City of McKinneys ceremonial] Arbor Day celebration [on Saturday, April 19], Simmons said, grabbing hold of one of the potted burr oaks that towered over his head.

The farm also sells a wide variety of rose bushes, none of which are grafted, but rather are all original root stock, Oswald explained.

During a recent foot-tour of the operation, Oswald and Simmons both stop to answer questions from visitors to the farm. Oswald also field questions about another of his points of pride the Chambersville Heritage Rose Garden, which sits on a hillside of his property, surrounded by woods not far from the rows of trees in his tree farm. This rose garden, a regular meeting spot for rose enthusiasts, is one of only four such gardens in the U.S, and will soon feature a gazebo. A large national gathering of rose enthusiasts plans to meet here in October.

The Chambersville Tree Farms is open to the public on weekends and some days of the week. Call ahead to (214) 295-1058 or check hours on the farm Web site, www.chambersvilletreefarms.com. The Web site also provides clear instructions for getting to the farm. The picturesque, relaxing 10 minute drive out FM roads 543 and 206 is well worth the trip for a visit to some of the happiest trees in Collin County.

For more information, contact: MCKINNEY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Beth Shumate, Communication Services Manager

About McKinney CVB: The McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureaus vision is to generate economic impact by promoting and developing McKinney as a premiere destination for business and leisure travelers, so they fully experience McKinneys historic charm and friendly, unique atmosphere.

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