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Cecil Delp

Cecil Delp started Delp Christmas Tree Farm in 1959. At the time, the farm was the first of its kind in Kansas--and, as one might imagine, it was seen as an oddity. Cecil got the idea of growing Christmas trees from some of his cousins. Throughout its first few years, the farm served as a 4-H project for Cecil's sons, Phil and Tony. It gradually grew to the point that taking care of the trees was a full-time undertaking.

Over the years, the farm has stayed in the family. When Cecil retired, his son Tony began running the farm. At its largest point, the farm grew to nearly 300,000 trees on 200 acres. In the summer, large shearing crews were hired to insure that the trees maintained their shape, special equipment was developed to spray colorant on the trees in the fall, and of course the Christmas season bustled with choose-and-cut customers, as well as the work involved in shipping trees all over the midwest. Today the farm operates on a smaller scale, but Delp Tree Farm still prides itself in providing beautiful Kansas grown Christmas trees in a great family atmosphere.

Phil and Tony Planting Trees
Cecil and Tony

As one might suspect, a lot of work goes into preparing Christmas trees for their eventual sale. Trees grow at a rate of approximately one foot per year, and each year they must be trimmed in order to maintain the appropriate shape--a process called shearing. In the past, all trees on our farm were sheared using traditional hedge shears. However, today we use a piece of equipment called a Saje--leaving on the very top of the tree to be touched up with hand shears.
Shearing with a Saje
Spraying Colorant

Each year, trees that will be sold must be sprayed with colorant. The colorant helps offset a natural yellowing that pine trees undergo in the fall (it also helps the trees hold some of their moisture). In the past, a high-clearance tractor, built by Cecil, was used to insure that all trees were adequately covered--especially those that were very tall. Now most of our trees can be sprayed with hand wands.

When Christmas season arrives, it is time to cut trees! Wholesale trees are cut and netted for shipping. In the picture to the right, you can see the machinery that is used in this process. Small trees may be pulled through the netter by hand, while the tractor and a "conveyor chain" are utilized for larger trees.
Netting Christmas Trees


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