Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Tree Farms

Since the Christmas holiday is right around the corner. I thought I would touch on another small sector of farming, Christmas Tree Farming. Christmas trees have been commercially sold in the United States since about 1850 when most trees were cut from forests. Christmas Tree Farms started popping up around the country around the 1950s. Christmas trees require year-round maintenance and they take seven to ten years to grow. Tree loss can occur due to disease, pests and adverse weather conditions.
Christmas Tree Farming is a billion dollar industry. Yes, Billion with a B. Christmas tree farming is typically a small family business and every year, they are up against the big box stores who can offer low discounts and convenient locations. Tree farms can be marketed to a store for wholesale or, what they call, the choose-and-cut method, this would be similar to picking out a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch. Many or the choose-and-cut farms have to include some Agro-tourism side perks like visits from Santa, sleigh rides, or hot chocolate to increase income during this month long season.
                Extension Agents often get calls on how to care for Christmas Trees and how to keep them fresh, fragrant, and safe. An article that I found from North Carolina Extension recommends to make a one half inch fresh cut across the base of the tree before placing the tree in its stand to encourage the tree to get a better drink of water. Be sure to choose a stand that will hold a gallon of water or more. The tree may take up a gallon of water in its first 24 hours and a quart a day after that. You do not need to put anything in the water, but make sure to keep it fresh. Place the tree away from heat sources, heating vents, fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or sunny windows. Do not overload the electrical plug ins with all the pretty lights and remember to turn the lights off when you leave home or go to bed. Pretty common sense right
This article is basically segue to the old argument of Real tree vs. Fake Tree. I personally like the ease of a fake tree but many enjoy the smell and tradition of a real tree. Whatever your preference, you now know a little bit more about where your Christmas Tree came from.


Kim Woodring
Toole County Extension

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