If you are looking to turn your piece of land into a money machine, then you should consider growing Christmas trees. Managing a Christmas tree farm requires very little maintenance effort, making it ideal for a leisure project. And it can bring you enormous benefits for many years to come.
Christmas trees mature in an average of eight years. Therefore, this may not be a good option for you if you’re looking for quicker profits or if you can’t guarantee long-term ownership of the land you own. But if you think eight years isn’t too long, then you can venture into Christmas tree farming.
By planting a portion of your acreage with new trees each year, you’ll provide a steady income as the trees mature over an average of eight years and are harvested and replanted. If you like the idea of Christmas tree farming and are ready to start your own business, then read this article to understand the basics of the business and everything you need to know before taking a step forward.
How profitable is growing Christmas trees?
The average price of a tree is about $50. And an acre of land can hold 200 Christmas trees ready for harvest. So, with an acre of land, you can generate $10,000 per harvest. That’s $50,000 with five acres.
And considering the fact that the costs of growing the Christmas tree are mostly labor for maintenance, such as shearing the saplings and cutting the brush for weed control, you can keep most of the profit; or even all of it if you do all the work yourself.
Because most varieties of Christmas trees take up to eight years to grow to the popular harvest height of 5 to 7 feet, a smart way to provide a steady annual income is to start by planting a large number of trees (one acre can accommodate 1,500 trees at the standard 5? x 5? ), and then replanting one-eighth of that number each year, which equates to about 200 trees per acre.
What are the different types of Christmas trees?
There are several types of Christmas trees, but the three most popular are：
- Scotch Pine
- Balsam Fir
- Douglas Fir
Scotch Pine is the most popular among Christmas tree growers because it grows quickly in a wide range of climates, and is more resistant to drought and other adverse weather conditions because of its deep roots. However, it requires regular cutting to develop the desirable cone shape of a traditional Christmas tree.
Balsam fir is popular in places with colder winters and cooler summers, as it grows well there. Because it is naturally cone shaped, Balsam Fir requires minimal shear to perfect its shape. Douglas Fir grows well in locations with mild climatic conditions and well-drained soils. It holds needles after cutting and, like Balsam Fir, has a natural cone shape, requiring minimal shear to give it a perfect Christmas tree shape.
How do you plant Christmas trees?
As a Christmas tree grower, you have two options. First, you can buy the seeds and plant them yourself in a nursery. You will need to nurture them as they become seedlings over the next two years, after which you can transplant them to the farm itself.
The second, and usually the best, option is to buy the seedlings from wholesale growers and plant them on your prepared farm. This option eliminates the need to grow the plants from the planting phase, which lasts two years!
The seedlings will be planted in a 5? x 5? grid to allow sunlight to reach the young trees so they can grow healthy and uniformly.
One of the positive aspects of Christmas tree farming is the small amount of work it requires. You will rarely do much during the first four years. But after that time, you’ll have to prune the trees annually to help them find the fuller form that buyers prefer. And you’ll need to shear the trees at regular intervals, too, depending on whether your trees have a natural cone shape or not.
How do growers or buyers make money from Christmas trees?
Many growers or buyers of Christmas trees make a lot of money selling vegetables, wreaths and garlands. In fact, growers sell these items more than cut trees. Some wreaths might be as expensive as $100, and that’s the cost of about 2 whole trees. And one cut tree can produce more than 3 wreaths or more.
Growers who live near towns and cities that can sell their trees or wreaths directly to customers get the most benefit. For other growers, collaborating with organizations like Rotary that can help them sell their trees makes a lot of sense because the prices are higher than those sold to wholesalers.
What is the potential of Christmas tree agriculture?
The market for live Christmas trees is growing. Before now, plastic artificial trees were much more popular. But the buying public is now moving away from artificial trees in favor of the “natural, real” thing. Market studies reveal that sales of artificial Christmas trees peaked in 2007, and have been declining ever since. That’s why the number of Christmas tree farms is constantly growing every year.
As you can see, growing Christmas trees on a farm can be very profitable, as start-up and maintenance costs are low and demand is high. And in addition to earning a good income, you’ll be providing erosion control and helping to improve the environment. Therefore, Christmas tree farming is an ecological business that can be beneficial to you and our planet.