Farming forum: Christmas Tree Farming

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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Mar 31, 2016 10:37 AM CST
Nearly 12 years ago I sold my exotic bird breeding business and small farm and moved to my daughter and SIL's farm. I build an apartment on the back of their farmhouse and we live in separate quarters but they still have access to my side through their office and can keep an eye on me to be sure I do not get into any trouble. Whistling

Here on this farm they raise Christmas Trees and each year they open from the day after Thanksgiving until the weekend before Christmas and we celebrate the old fashion Christmas with customers and friends for an entire month. Families come each year to tag their trees early, then return to cut them closer to Christmas. We have a small Christmas shop with gifts usually made by individuals for the benefit of their favorite organization, and some things we make here just for fun. We give away gifts to all i.e. coloring books, toys, puzzles, etc. to everyone. Those are donated by me usually. Along with that we sell the trees we grow at a price all can afford plus we have hot chocolate and cookies for all. I am going to share what life if like from Spring to Christmas with those of you who are interested. I hope you find life on the farm as rewarding as we do.
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Mar 31, 2016 10:51 AM CST
The name of our farm is RobLyn Farm. It is located in South Central New Jersey, just down the road from the Joint Base McGuire, Dix and Lakehurst, one of the largest Military Bases in the Country. Many of our customers are Military and we never turn them away even when we are not open because sometimes they need to shop for a tree before being deployed so they can help their families prepare for a Christmas without the husband or in some cases the mother.

Here is a picture of some of our fields of different size trees.

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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Mar 31, 2016 10:58 AM CST
We had to dig out the stumps that were left in the field when people cut their trees this year. Then we had to prepare the fields for the new replacement babies that we were expecting to arrive in a few weeks.

Loading stumps and being supervised by Missy, one of the farm dogs.
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Truck load of stumps ready to go to recycling dump
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Plowing the front field getting ready to plant.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 31, 2016 12:14 PM CST
Thanks, Jacquie! Nice photos and it's good to know you're surrounded by growing things.

I'm curious - why do you remove the stumps? Couldn't you re-plant around them, like by putting the new rows between the old rows?

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Mar 31, 2016 12:16 PM CST
This sounds like a fun thread; I hope you keep it up!
Porkpal
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Mar 31, 2016 5:18 PM CST
RickCorey said:Thanks, Jacquie! Nice photos and it's good to know you're surrounded by growing things.

I'm curious - why do you remove the stumps? Couldn't you re-plant around them, like by putting the new rows between the old rows?



We, not like many tree farmers, keep our grass mowed between the rows of trees so when people come to tag or cut, they are not walking in weeds up to their knee caps and or snow and weeds. Our place is constantly being mowed and trimmed so it is like a park year round. It take lots of work, but that is the way we like it. Therefore, the stumps are removed and trees planted in that spot for another time. We are a fussy lot and when we mow the grass between the trees (we do spray the grass between the smaller trees with roundup so it gives the babies breathing room, but in the rows, it is cut) it takes hours but the way we plant, it is much easier than to have to wiggle and jiggle around the trees that are not in a nice row. Also, you really waste space if you leave the stumps in since it takes years for them to rot where you can use the space again. I am sure not all tree farms do it this way, but we choose to keep a neat and tidy field.

I hope that answers your question Ric.
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Mar 31, 2016 5:20 PM CST
I will be keeping it up unless something unforseen happens. I will show you some of the different trees we grow eventually.
They just finished planting and now it can rain tomorrow. Good Night.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Mar 31, 2016 5:47 PM CST
Jacquie, what a beautiful farm! For some reason I pictured you way out in the country, but there are several houses nearby. I can tell you keep a neat and tidy place. It would be wonderful if we could find a tree farm like yours in our area. It sounds like so much fun. I'll bet you have a lot of repeat customers.

I'm glad you got the new babies planted before the rain!

Name: Shannon
Burkeville,Va (Zone 7a)
The House on the Hill Gardens
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Shannon
Mar 31, 2016 6:07 PM CST
@JB was your bird business by Englishtown ?? I remember going to a place down by the racetrack when I
would race my TA Smiling

Beautiful tree farm. Love that y'all remove the stumps, this from someone who can Always find that one stump
on 10 ac to trip on Whistling I am in the process of trying to find baby Leland Cedars for our property and it's
hard finding them :(
The horse is God's gift to mankind. ~Arabian Proverb
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Apr 1, 2016 10:15 AM CST
Good Morning. IT IS RAINING... Hurray! Hurray! Babies are getting watered. Sighing! I could just see us irrigating tonight.

Now the fun begins. Keeping the trees healthy and disease free, bag worms and grass between the rows mowed. There are five of us who split up the mowing and it works out very well.

We now have Concolor Fir, Douglas Fir and Canaan Fir plus Norway Spruce and a few Blue Spruce. Last year the Douglas Fir developed a disease and we thought we would loose an entire field, but with constant spraying and lots of praying, we will see if those trees will survive this year. We took out over 50 trees that actually just died before Christmas season and we have hundreds of Douglas since they are easy and fast growers, so we will see what happens.

Here is a picture of the Douglas Fir. I took this from the mower. It was taken before they were trimmed for sale. Yes, I mow between these big babies and it is very hard on your legs if you do not have long jeans on. Also, the spiders love these trees and you can not see the webs unless you are facing certain directions, so you really have to pay attention. Hilarious!


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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Apr 1, 2016 2:41 PM CST
Ech on the spiders! Trees are so big and lush!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Apr 1, 2016 3:16 PM CST
Jacquie, that explains why and how it is so beautiful. "Better Tree Farms and Gardens".

Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Apr 1, 2016 5:38 PM CST
Each one of these trees was hand trimmed before Christmas and when they were all finished, we then announce people can come in to tag a tree if they see one they want and are afraid someone else will pick it up. We charge a $5 downpayment to tag your tree, if it is in October or November, whenever they are ready for the public to see. We have one customer who picks out one the day he cuts his Christmas Tree and he tags it for the next year. People love it here because we cater to them and their likes and goofyness. (can't spell that). Confused
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Apr 1, 2016 5:51 PM CST
Can you then use some of the trimmings to make wreaths?
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Apr 2, 2016 9:02 AM CST
This trimming is not usually used for wreaths because this is done in late August. The cuttings in a wreath made that early would die before they would be up for sale. This trimming is to get the new growth off and shape the tree like a Christmas Tree should look to sell. One guy does the sides and another comes along and does the tops. Each tree is done separately. Some places use gas cutters to shape, others use hand tools...no matter what you use, it is very important because one wrong cut and your tree is ruined for that year.

Here is a shot of my SIL trimming with a hand tool.
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This one shows one doing the sides, the other the tops and the mower mulching up the cuttings that are on the ground.
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The tree in the front is trimmed, the tree in the back is waiting to be trimmed.


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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Apr 2, 2016 9:26 AM CST
The Concolor Fir is one of the most popular Tree we grow. Some people call it the White Fir. Some people do not like them because their branches are close and they do not like the way the little ornaments hang. We use these in our houses at Christmas because we think they are a beautiful long lasting tree when freshly cut and watered.

The leaf or needle color is a greyish green and are curved upward. The needles are 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length and my opinion is that they are the next best thing to the Fraser fir. (we can not grow fraser because our soil is sandy and they prefer a Mountain environment with a more solid soil). We ship in fresh cut Frasers for some of our customers who prefer them. We pick them up the day they are cut or shipped in to North Jersey or Pennsylvania from N. Carolina and bring them to the farm. Each individual tree we ship in is put in a bucket of water until sold. We try not to sell outside trees because we guarantee out trees freshness and we can never be sure about those shipped. When we pick up our frasers we inspect them for freshness before we load them.

People do not realize when they buy cut trees at the big stores or lots that the trees they are getting could have been out of water and cut for over a month before they even get to them. Many are cut in October or November in Canada and shipped to the USA to a distributor. That is why they can sell them so cheap because they buy in large quantity and they are not fresh cut. We have had people come to us for another tree because they bought one at one of the large stores and it was loosing needles and would be dead before Christmas. I am not saying this happens to all of them, but it does happen frequently and that is why if you can buy a tree locally that you know when it is cut and has been watered you will be happier.

Concolor Fir in July, not trimmed
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Concolor Fir in August trimmed
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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
Image
JB
Apr 2, 2016 9:35 AM CST
abhege said:Can you then use some of the trimmings to make wreaths?


There are usually trees that are not perfect and can not be sold so we use those for making wreaths and we also give them to our neighbors who have a farmers market and they do not sell Christmas Trees, so they use our bottom cuttings and take our imperfect trees and holly to make their live wreaths and cemetery blankets, etc. They in turn make us a wreath for the barn and during the year I get a discount on my plants, etc. They used to sell trees but because of us being so close, they decided they would no longer sell trees and send us the business. It pays to be good neighbors and work together to please the customers. We in turn send them business for wreaths, etc.

Here is a picture of the wreath they make us each year. It is so big and beautiful.
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[Last edited by JB - Apr 2, 2016 9:37 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1103720 (17)
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Apr 2, 2016 9:40 AM CST
Shannon said:@JB was your bird business by Englishtown ?? I remember going to a place down by the racetrack when I
would race my TA Smiling

Beautiful tree farm. Love that y'all remove the stumps, this from someone who can Always find that one stump
on 10 ac to trip on Whistling I am in the process of trying to find baby Leland Cedars for our property and it's
hard finding them :(


The bird farm was in Cream Ridge, which is not really near Englishtown. I know what you are talking about, they were called the Canary Farm and they sold all sorts of birds but mostly little ones. I used to buy all my canaries there because they had nice birds. It was close the the track.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Apr 3, 2016 5:03 PM CST
What a tedious and exacting job, trimming the trees JB. They sure do a nice job. I could never be hired cause once I start cutting, it's hard to stop!

Duh! Of course you couldn't use the trimmings to make wreathes if they are trimmed in August.

Your large wreath is beautiful. We had two huge wreath frames someone just dumped on our back yard. Probably about the size of yours. We used garland to wrap and put lights on. We used to have an old Victorian house with a beautiful third floor to hang in outside. I wish I could have afforded live branches. We gave one of the frames to our neighbors because they have an old Victorian as well. Not sure if they use it anymore. We moved to a rancher so it won't work here. Gave it to my son but they have yet to use it either. Some time I will make it up and hang it and surprise them.

Oh, one year we did it up and hung it at my other son's. They don't decorate for Christmas so we wanted them to have something. They never took it down. We finally had to go over in July and remove it.
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
Image
JB
Apr 4, 2016 8:21 AM CST
Since it is really touch and go with the Douglas Fir and this new disease they seem to be picking out of the ground, we have decided to try another fir this year called Canaan Fir, aka Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis (fern.). It is relatively new to the Christmas tree market. It looks very similiar to Fraser and balsam in growth and appearance. If anyone is interested in knowing more about this tree you can find very good information on [url=www.hiddenspringstreefarm.com]www.hiddenspringstreefarm.com[/url]. that was prepared by Dr. Craig R. McKinley, North Carolina University.

We have no idea if these trees will be happy here because its growing range has not yet been identified. The Canaan is considered a special ecotype of bracted balsam; this ecotype hadinb unique characteristics as a result of the environment to which it has been exposed. It is not yet considered a separate species. We can only hope the few hundred we planted will grow. Many of the growers in this area are slowly moving from Douglas to Canaan due to the disease I mentioned before.

I do not have a picture of my own at this time and I hesitate to use the one I have from the grower without his permission.

These are the only firs we grow at this time. Next we will talk about the Spruce.

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