Christmas trees are an integral part of holiday festivities and they’re grown by many farmers nationwide. But it takes hard work and persistence in order to cultivate that perfect tree!
An evergreen farmer cultivates numerous evergreen species for Christmas tree farming, such as firs, pines, and spruces. These trees require significant watering as they develop; additionally, they must be protected against deer and gophers that could potentially ruin them.
How Christmas Trees Are Grown
The process of growing Christmas trees requires careful planning and cultural operations to ensure the trees are healthy and have the desired form and density. Farmers need to consider factors such as planting site selection, species and seed source selection, proper planting techniques, weed and pest control, and fertilization. Additionally, tree shearing is an important practice to maintain the trees’ shape and density.
To ensure that your Christmas tree plantation is successful, it’s crucial to work with experienced professionals who can guide you through each step of the process. GreenTeam Group is one such resource, offering expertise in plantation establishment and management. Visit their website at https://www.greenteam-group.com/ to learn more.
If you’re interested in learning more about Christmas tree cultivation and the science behind it, check out the National Christmas Tree Association’s website at https://www.realchristmastrees.org/. The NCTA is a leading authority on Christmas tree farming, and their site offers a wealth of information on everything from tree selection to marketing and sales.
Firs are an extremely popular Christmas tree choice, as their fragrance, short sturdy needles, and branches that support ornaments well all come together to form an excellent Christmas tree.
Pine trees are another popular option, due to their attractive needle retention properties, rapid growth rate and tolerance to both warm and cool climate zones.
Spruces are also popular choices for Christmas trees. Their needle retention and growth rates are similar to firs; however, they may be harder to locate at markets.
Cypresses make great Christmas trees in warm areas where firs do not thrive, requiring minimal grooming to grow up to 6 to 7 feet in four years and being great choices for people with allergies or sensitivities to other forms of trees.
Selecting Tree Species
Christmas tree farmers offer a diverse selection of species, each boasting its own desirable features such as density, height, shape, and fragrance.
Douglas fir trees are among the most beloved ornamental species, due to their dense foliage of soft light green needles that are soft to touch and sweetly fragrant. Furthermore, these needles retain their needles beautifully for decorations.
Balsam fir trees are popular choices due to their fragrant, dark-green needles with blue-green undersides, long stiff branches, and fragrant nature. They make the ideal platform for displaying heavy ornaments.
Canaan Fir (pronounced ka-naan) is another popular variety that shares characteristics with both Fraser and Balsam Fir. With excellent needle retention properties and being suitable for growing in warmer regions where Fraser-Balsam Fir is not found, Canaan fir makes an ideal selection.
Christmas tree farmers devote most of the year to growing and pruning their trees, as well as monitoring pest populations and applying insecticide treatments to keep insects at bay.
Christmas trees typically take one to four years before reaching harvest size; for faster-growing pine species such as Norway spruce it may take as long as twelve years for all of them to be harvested from a planting.
Once trees reach maturity, they are then sheared (trimmed) manually by hand in order to produce thick and well-shaped Christmas trees for sale. This process typically occurs each year from early summer through winter months.
Farmers of Christmas Trees sell their harvest in various ways, from choose-and-cut systems to wholesale orders. Most often, these farmers make money by charging customers a price which reflects the true costs associated with cutting down a tree.
Some farms sell their trees to retailers and garden centers who resell them at higher prices, helping to reduce costs while making a profit. This strategy allows farmers to maintain lower costs while making more profits than before.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, live Christmas trees typically retail at $75 retail; meaning farmers typically make between 30-44% profit margin on these sales.
Even with all its challenges, some farmers say they plan to continue running their own farms despite all these hardships, primarily because they love what they’re doing and it allows them to spend quality time with family during the holidays. Furthermore, it provides jobs and economic activity in local communities during this festive season, potentially earning anywhere from $15,000-$20,000 depending on size of farm.