Christmas tree and pumpkin farm

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by mike995, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. mike995

    mike995 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    What up guys,does anybody have any advise on christmas tree farms or pumpkin patches?Im in California in the Sacramento area and my wife and I have 5 acres and the use of another possiable 5 acres.What Im asking is,is it worth it.
    I just started a landscape company and its doing o.k. for the short time I have been doing it.I have been working on and off for a year now in the construction industry but it is dead and I need somthing to do.
    If you guys can give me any helpful info. I would be grateful.It's time to go back to basics and have my land support itself........Thanks
  2. RD 12

    RD 12 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    I would try to get with someone local who is already started. Biggest think to look at is your investment will not start to pay off for several years. Some expenses you may want to think about: Shearing machines, spray rigs, insurance. I just took over my uncles farm that has been in operation for over 20 yrs and the more you can get with people in your area the better, finding out what sells and what wont, prices etc.
  3. mike995

    mike995 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks for the info.
  4. RD 12

    RD 12 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    Let me know if you try to grow some trees. You get get on line and find a few National and probably regional organizations that you can get more info from. Google Tiger Branch Christmas Trees and you can see some of the organizations that help with our advertising.
  5. ken18621

    ken18621 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    There is little information on the net about starting a Christmas tree farm, But if you dig deep enough you can find enough info to get an idea of what it takes to raise them.

    I started a Christmas tree farm 4 years ago for a little side cash. My plan was to wholesale 1000 trees a year to make it worthwhile. I have planted 5000 trees so far and will need to plant for the next three years before I can see any return im my investment.

    To date I have close to 20 grand invested into transplants, mowers, sprayers, herbicides, pesticides, fuel, and other misc. equipment. This does not take into consideration the thousands of hours of labor involved.

    If you decide to venture into this business you must consider the risks involved that you have limited control of like;

    excessive rains
    late spring frosts after bud break (2 years in a row for me)
    deer will browse on them and rub their antlers on them,killing them
    rabbits and rodents girdling the bases in the winter
    and a bunch of other things can go wrong.
    did I mention insects?

    If you make it past all those obstacles unharmed, You will be lucky to have 60-to 8o% salable trees. Not every tree planted grows to be a salable tree.

    I have a full time job and the tree farm takes up most of my weekends and quite a few evenings. Are you sure you can commit that much time into this?

    I am by no way trying to talk you out of giving it a shot, but I just wanted to give you some food for thought.

    I am still a rookie in this business and I am learning from the school of hard knocks. But I will offer any information I have learned if you ask for it.

    A good place to start is your home state Christmas Tree Growers Association. I know that Pennsylvania's has a mentorship program, maybe yours does as well.

    Good Luck
  6. mike995

    mike995 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks for the advise.I figured it would be a lot of work.With the way things are going here,were trying to figure out a way to make some money with are land,just need to way my options I guess..
  7. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    If you are looking to make some decent spare money from a small farm area and you have a great rainfall and shady forest area, I would reccomend buying some innoculated logs that have highly expensive mushroom spores in them. with shade, water and a year, I have heard of folks who make a thousand plus a log profit IF they find folks to buy the mushrooms. the logs do cost a grand to buy, so you have to spend 20 grand and make 40, so you net 1some money to cover your life. the logs eventually peter out, so you can buy more and sell whatever your local market will buy up. but you can always start with some and make it larger if you can produce and sell what you grow.

    I helped plant a 10 acre christmas tree farm over a decade ago, they gave up on the maintenance and it is a forest now.
  8. Rose Bud Farms

    Rose Bud Farms LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    We ore in the Atlantic City New Jersey and have been growing Christmas trees for 30 years this year. We sell about 3,500 trees at Christmas time and about another 500 for landscaping and forest/ woodline re-forestation. I tell anyone who wants to start go ahead as the other person did. But when you buy your seedlings, buy ones that are 2-2 or 3-2, this is their age and the times they were moved. Ther are bigger trees. Figure in the cost over the long run, you need to water when it is dry, spray when there is bigs, fert and lime yearly, mow when the grass is growing and you need 5 to 51/2 foot between trees for growth. It burns up land quick.
    In the fall we also run a corn maze, cornfield of terror and hay wagon ride with a pick your own pumpkin patch. We also grow our own mums and plant the pumpkin patch but buy our large stand pumpkins. Again we are talking space as we have 85 acres. Good luck with your decision

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