Do you have unused land you’d like to use? How about making memories with the family while utilizing the land? Does that sound interesting?
What if you could make some extra money in the process? If this sounds good to you, consider growing your own Christmas trees.
They don’t take a great deal of effort, and the amount of acreage you have available can determine how large your business should be.
At the very least, it could allow you to raise your own Christmas trees for personal use, make memories in the process, and save money too.
Here’s how you go about growing your own Christmas trees:
What Type of Tree Should I Grow?
There are a variety of trees you could choose to raise as a Christmas tree. Here are the most popular options:
Pine is a preferable type of Christmas tree because of its flexibility. It grows in almost any planting zone.
Which is great news regardless if you live in a warm or cool climate. They also grow quickly at roughly one foot per year.
Spruce is what many consider a traditional Christmas tree. It’s what you probably dream of when you consider chopping down your own Christmas tree.
However, they can only be grown in cooler planting zones and have a difficult time holding onto their needles. This can make them a messy option.
Firs are great because they put off a pleasant fragrance. They also produce a vibrant green color which most people desire in their Christmas trees.
But what makes firs such an excellent choice for a Christmas tree is they don’t drop their needles as much as other Christmas tree varieties.
How to Plant Christmas Trees
Once you’ve chosen your variety of Christmas tree to plant, you must follow these important steps to plant them, or they won’t grow properly.
1. Pick the Perfect Spot
The seedlings for your tree variety of choice should be planted in a place with full sun. They also require well-draining soil.
However, if you have clay soil and the land is on a hill, it may still drain well enough for the trees to grow. It’s still a good idea to amend the soil to ensure optimal growth.
2. Prepare the Land
Preparing the land to be planted with trees is another simple task. If the area is only grass, you only need to mow it before planting.
However, if the area is thick with vegetation, it’s wise to begin cultivating the land the season before planting.
3. Spacing Matters
Spacing is where many people mess up when planting Christmas trees. They cram them too close together because the seedlings begin very small.
However, the trees should be planted in rows with the seedlings eight feet apart. The rows should also be eight feet apart from each other too. Planting this way will give the roots room to spread and the trees room to bush out.
4. Depth Matters More
As crucial as spacing is, the depth you plant your trees matters even more. It’s essential they be planted the same depth they were when the nursery started the seedlings.
Although this can sound like an impossible situation, it isn’t. Instead, you examine the trunk on the seedling. There should be a line of discoloration where you can see the colors change on the tree.
This line will show you how deep the tree should be planted. Be sure to spread out the roots carefully when planting and water deeply when finished.
5. Stagger Trees
If you’d like to have trees each year for Christmas, consider staggering the planting of each seedling. For instance, plant a few rows of seedlings one year.
Doing this should give you personal trees and a few to share or sell. The next year, plant a few more rows and continue the pattern to make sure you have trees each year for harvest.
How to Care for a Christmas Tree
Christmas tree varieties require little care. Follow these few steps, and you should have great success with growing Christmas trees:
1. Year One Matters
During the first year of your seedlings growth, be sure to water them every week. After the first year, the trees should be able to survive without additional watering unless your area is impacted with drought.
If it is a long drought, be sure the trees are given water to keep them going.
2. Battle of the Weeds
Weeds are a problem no matter what you’re growing. They can smother seedling trees, and weeds can also take vital nutrients from the trees too.
3. Give Them Hair Cuts
When year three of growth rolls around, it’s time for your trees to have a bit of a haircut. You may begin to notice how they have abnormalities forming with stray limbs or even two toppers.
Trim the trees to give them the traditional Christmas tree shape and look. However, be careful doing too much pruning the year of harvest because if you cut on the outer limbs, it may show when your tree is on display.
4. What is Normal vs. Signs of Disease
If you walk out in your field and notice your trees are losing many needles, don’t panic. It’s common for evergreens to lose roughly 30% of their needles each year.
However, the needles lost should only be coming from the interior of the tree. If you notice outer needles are falling or the needles are turning yellow, it’s possible the tree is either diseased or under attack by pests.
How to Harvest a Christmas Tree
You’ve put in the effort and the work. The time has finally come for you to harvest your Christmas trees. Here’s how you do it:
1. They Take How Long?
Most people opts for a six to seven-foot Christmas tree. Growing a tree to this height can take approximately six to nine years to accomplish.
Therefore, when your tree has reached the height you desire, you know you’re ready for harvest. Some don’t want as large of a tree which makes this a personal choice.
However, if you’re raising Christmas trees for profit, cutting them down when they’re anywhere from six to nine feet tall would be best.
2. Cut and Soak
After the tree has been cut down, soak it in water immediately to keep it from scabbing over and resealing. If this happens, the tree won’t be able to absorb water which will keep it from serving its purpose as a Christmas tree.
3. Early Harvest Tip
Let’s say you must harvest your Christmas trees a little earlier than the holidays. How do you keep the trees without it being necessary to soak them in water the whole time until you’re ready to use them?
You can cut the trees down a little earlier and not put them in water. Yet, when you go to use them be sure to take a small slice from the trunk of the tree.
This slice will reopen the trunk and allow the tree to absorb water again.
Now you know how to plant, care for, and harvest your own Christmas trees. It can be a long time investment, but one which could be worth it if you and your family have the room and would enjoy the challenge.
In the process you’ll make many great memories with your family from growing your own Christmas trees, and also avoid the high prices (and crowds) when buying one.