There are all kinds of farms popping up around the country and the rest of the world. It seems as if there is a unique option for every beginning farm that wishes to stick their toe in the water. Perhaps you want to raise goats or beef cattle. Maybe growing crops is more your style. It could even be that your preference lies in growing trees...Christmas trees, that is.
Strange though it may sound from a farmer’s perspective, Christmas trees are actually a lucrative crop. If you drive around your town, chances are you’ll see at least one temporary tent or structure erected somewhere out of which Christmas trees are being sold. At that tent, you will also see people waiting to pick out their perfect tree, and when they do, they will fork over quite a bit of cash to get it. Someone somewhere grew that tree and is making a profit off of it, so why not let that someone be you?
Christmas trees are a low maintenance crop that truly require little work in order to get years of return. Although it does take several years to see the first return on investment, if you plant annually, you will continue to have money coming in to support your family or other farming efforts. It takes about eight years for a tree to mature to 5-8 feet in height, which is ideal for most family Christmas trees. On a single acre, you can grow up to about 1,600 trees with each one being allowed ample room to grow, and that acre can be on a gently sloping hillside or other less than ideal farmland. Based on the eight year maturity rate, simply break that acre of land down into eight sections and plant one every year to keep yourself in continuous Christmas trees.
If you’re looking for a profitable cash crop for your small acreage, consider growing Christmas trees. They are a low maintenance crop, ideal for a spare time project, and can produce a good income for years to come. By planting a portion of your acreage with new trees each year, it will provide a steady income as the trees mature in an average of eight years and are harvested and re-planted. Simply give each tree a growing space of 5’ by 5’ and they should grow uninhibited. Young trees will need to be sheared for shape and the area around them mowed, but these are tasks you can complete yourself and do not require a staff or the purchase of a lot of new, expensive equipment to complete. However, you can further save time by planting Douglas Fir trees which hold their natural cone shape quite nicely.
When your trees are nearing maturity, you will need to make a decision regarding the type of harvest you will conduct. Some Christmas tree farms allow people to choose and cut their own while others haul them into town and sell them out of a roadside tent. The price of your trees will depend in large part on your choice. If you allow people to come cut their own, the price per tree would be less than if you were to cut them down and bring them to a central location. Other factors to continue include the liability of having people on your property cutting down trees versus renting a structure to store them safely should you choose to sell out them in a town somewhere. Also possible with a sales location is waste; you may cut more than you end up selling whereas if people come to cut their own, there is no waste because nothing is cut until sold.
The price of trees does vary. Based on the 1,600 trees per acre plan and a harvest of 1/8 of that each year to make a full eight year cycle, that amounts to a couple hundred trees to sell each year. On average, trees that are cut by the purchasers hover around $50 with some being more and others being less. For those purchased elsewhere, that cost average is closer to $100. Services such as flocking and hot cocoa for sale can boost income as well.
The bottom line when it comes to Christmas tree farming is that you can sell a couple hundred trees annually and make close to or in excess of $10,000 depending on how you and where you choose to sell. That is a nice little chunk of change to pad your pockets each year that will help support the rest of your farming efforts. If you have an acre to spare that is not being otherwise utilized, give yourself the gift of Christmas all around and plant some Christmas trees!