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So you want to Grow Christmas Trees!

​​Have you ever given it a thought? Maybe you live in a city and wish to buy a farm. Maybe you own one but don't farm the land...or maybe your farm has some open land not being used like a field or hill and you're tired of mowing it yourself. You think, perhaps you should grow some trees! Especially around November when you see the trucks full of fresh cut trees on the thruway heading south to points unknown. And Christmas Tree retail stands popping up everywhere, it just seems like it would be a perfect plan for that open space of yours. Probably would help contribute to taxes and might even help with those college expenses and it would be a great family outing every weekend. What a picture!

But that is as far as it goes for most folks. Christmas is over, your own tree is a bird feeder in the backyard or buried in two feet of snow and life goes on as usual. This thought of growing trees goes away for another year.

Growing trees is an illness (in my opinion). If a little scratching makes it go away you only have a mild case , but if the thought remains, you may have "Christmas Tree Fever". The only known cure I know is to give it a whirl...or better yet, a "whorl" (fir trees are opposite branched).

The the question is apt to be (especially by those of us that already grow trees), "Why did I ever start to grow trees?" To each his own on answering this question but here are a few reasons:

  • Fir trees grown in Vermont, Balsam especially, are natural to a lot of the state. In other words, indigenous to the mountain of Vermont. This must mean, just stick them in the ground and reap profits seven years from now - wrong! 

  • Profits are a lure. 1500 to 3000 trees per acre with inter-planting has to be better than hay no one wants. In fact, if you do the math, it does make the acre very valuable (but it does tie up the acre for 7 to 15 years). You probably would find selling that acre difficult to justify and you could have trouble selling those trees.

  • Satisfying that green thumb. If planted in the right spot, fir trees just grow well. They survive weather extremes...three feet of snow, from -40 to 100 degrees, random abuse and even if planted crooked they grow straight to the sun. If you think you have a "black thumb," these little pups (as I call them) will prove that you do in fact have a green thumb, they are amazing, but planting in the wrong spots can mean disaster.

Then there is one more thing. When you plant a tree to adorn the yard or you cut a tree for saw logs you look at trees as ornamental or as one that is mature and should be cut as a cash crop. When you grow a tree for Christmas it takes on a totally different perspective. Grown for one of the holiest of all days of the year, it is part of the tradition and becomes a center piece for a family. Even if it is referred to as a "Charlie Brown" it is done so lovingly and qualifies as being a beautiful tree. "Best we ever had!" "It came from a farm up there in the Northeast Kingdom!" Compliments make it all worth while. But be forewarned- in this day and age a farm can only have a few "Charlie Browns" and still thrive.

Just wanting to grow Christmas trees is reason enough to get started, but it is not as easy as one would think as the remaining articles will show. For those of us that are in the business it takes second place only to family. If you ask a tree farmer about growing trees, you better be prepared to spend a while. Early on my wife and I stopped by to see one of the founding fathers of these plantation grown trees. The Missus invited my wife in for tea saying, "if your husband is anything like my husband they will be in the field for some time." ....She was right.

If you would like to know more about about this gratifying business or have questions on how to get started, you can contact me @

      Northeast Kingdom Christmas Trees