Frequently Asked Questions
How does buying a Christmas tree at Ashcroft Farm work?
After being greeted and offered a cup of hot cider, you are free to roam through 25 beautiful acres of trees that come in all shapes and sizes. Once you have chosen a tree, one of our helpers will be glad to come out on an ATV to assist you in cutting, hauling and loading the tree on your vehicle.
Do you have a restroom?
Yes, there is an in-house facility with a lovely traditional farm décor (no port-a-potties here).
Can we bring pets?
Yes, but please keep dogs on a leash. There is no need to bring a bag to clean up after your dog. After all, it's a farm!
Can we drive in the fields to choose our tree?
Because of land conservation and insurance considerations, the general answer is no. However, for those visitors with physical disabilities we always try to provide some form of transportation (depending on weather conditions) for touring the fields.
Can we cut our own tree?
Yes, we have handsaws to loan, or you can bring your own handsaw.
Please Note: Insurance rules prohibit customers from using a chain saw on our property.
Can you cut our tree for us?
Yes. Once you choose your tree one of our helpers will be happy to do the cutting.
How do we get our tree back to our vehicle?
Our helper-elves will be happy to carry your tree back on a roving trailer or one of our ATVs. (Of course, if it is a tradition for your family to drag the tree out of the field, that is fine.)
Do you have a "tree shaker?"
No, we consider this an unnecessary "overhead" expense for our customers.
Will you "bale" our tree in netting?
Yes, most types of trees (except for spruces) up to 8 feet can be easily baled in netting. Larger trees have to be hand-compacted with bailing twine. There is no charge for this service.
Will you help us with loading the tree on our vehicle?
Yes. If you need help, we will provide baling twine and assist in tying the tree onto your vehicle. Again, there is no charge (but then too, our helper-elves are grateful for tips).
Please Note: If you are buying a tree over nine feet tall, please consider bringing a truck or trailer to carry your tree home.
Can I buy a live tree to plant on my property after Christmas?
Yes, but it takes a bit of planning. The best thing to do is call us in summer or early fall to visit and choose the tree you want. We will do the digging in early November. You in turn should be digging the hole where you want to plant your live tree in late winter/early spring.
On the other hand, if you visit us on our official opening day, (the Friday after Thanksgiving) you will find a half-dozen live trees of different varieties already "balled and burlapped" for purchase. These tend to sell out quickly and so by the end of the first week in December (always depending on weather) the odds of our being able to dig a tree in time for you to have by the week of Christmas diminish. Click here for further information on live trees.
How can I pay for my tree?
We accept personal checks and cash. Unfortunately, our operation is too small and the selling season too short to deal with credit cards.
Is Ashcroft a "green" (environmentally friendly) farm?
Very much so, and in several ways that you may not notice:
- The Farm is protected by a cast-iron conservation easement. Under Virginia state law, Ashcroft Farm can never be subdivided or developed beyond the rural quality of what you will see on your visit.
- We avoid the need for many chemicals to control most tree diseases and insect damage by rejecting what is called "mono-culture" i.e. planting only one kind of tree in any given area. Such a practice facilitates rapid transmission of diseases and damaging insects that prefer any given species of tree. Mono-culture leads to an intense application of chemicals to control such problems. We work against that tendency by practicing "plura-culture." That means you will find all sorts of trees in many different places. Whatever tree you choose to take home, the next spring a new tree seedling from a different genus (spruce, fir, pine) will be planted in its place. The result is less need to spray our trees with chemicals in order to control insects and diseases.
And there is an added advantage. After over 30 years of Ashcroft's plura-culture, you will choose your tree in a diverse, park-like landscape, rather than an industrial-looking tree farm with monotonous blocks of identical trees.
- In addition to damaging diseases and insects, there is the problem of controlling all the vegetation that can easily smoother young tree seedlings planted in the field. To deal with this problem we now use a minimum of chemical herbicides and rely instead on something called "natural, non-invasive ground cover." At our Farm, that means a long-term program of planting tree seedlings in tilled strips of Durana white clover.
We want a Frazer Fir. Why isn't that one of your eleven types of trees?
Frazer Firs do not grow well in our northern Shenandoah Valley climate zone. Any Frazer Fir tree you buy in this area will likely have been cut many weeks ago, trucked in, and will not be fresh. We do have three varieties of trees that look much like Frazer Firs: Balsam Fir (Sheet Harbor), Nordmann Fir, and Canaan Fir.
Do you allow early tagging of trees?
Indeed we do. Just give us a call or send an email and we will work out a mutually convenient time for you to visit before we open Thanksgiving weekend. We will ask for a small deposit to hold your tree.
Do you have very large trees suitable for cathedral ceilings or showrooms?
Yes. Some of our largest trees are Serbian Spruce and Colorado Blue Spruce.
I love the aroma of Concolor Fir. Do you have a large selection of that tree?
The selection of 7-8 foot concolor fir trees is very limited but we do have smaller trees growing.
Are you open during the week?
Yes, but only by appointment. We try to accommodate anyone who cannot come on the weekend during our regular hours.