BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- As you trim the tree this Christmas season, you are giving a gift to the family-owned farms that rely on seasonal sales."It's all small businesses," says Rick Dungey, spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association.
|It is estimated that Christmas tree farms in North America planted about 40 million tree seedlings in the winter and spring of 2011 to replace harvested crops and meet future demand.|
A logistical hurdle for growers -- especially smaller, newer ones -- is balancing customer demand with the laws of nature. NCTA estimates that Christmas tree farms in North America planted about 40 million tree seedlings in the winter and spring of 2011 to replace harvested crops and meet future demand. A step-by-step guide to what it takes to grow Christmas trees can be found on the NCTA Web site. The most common trees are 6 to 7 feet high, Dungey says. Although growing conditions can vary, it can take six to eight years to achieve that height. "When you put trees in the ground you are not going to realize sales on those trees for quite a while, so it is certainly an investment," he says. Smaller farms have developed strategies for growing their business even if they are limited by time and acreage. "A lot of choose-and-cut farms that sell trees one-by-one directly to the customer are also going to buy pre-cut trees from larger farms because they don't have trees ready in their fields yet or because they want to get species they can't grow where they are located. They may also have trees ready to harvest, but there are not enough to meet their customer demand," Dungey says.