10 Tips to start a christmas tree farm to make money pt money k gas constant


I came over here to America in 1965. Joined the army and was discharged in 68. 68 was the first year I got into the Christmas tree business. I got in as a retailer down in California (quite by accident) and that’s a whole new/different story.

I retailed for 10 years and met my girl, got married and one day she said, “why don’t we move to Oregon, buy some land and grow the trees, then we don’t have to buy them because we’ll own them? We should cut out the middle man.” I married a smart girl. So we did. 40 years later we’re still here, still growing and retailing. 1. What is the bare minimum investment to get started in Christmas tree farming if you already have land (i.e. what is the cost to buy seed, work the land, maintain, etc.)?

The seed has already been taken from the cone and made into a seedling approx 1′ to 1 1/2′ tall. Different tree seedlings are priced differently. For the most part folks here in the Pacific Northwest grow Noble fir, Douglas fir, and Grand fir.

Before planting you must ‘rip and disc-up’ the dirt/soil. If you’re just starting and you don’t own your own tractor, a local farmer will (generally) clean up/disc 20 acres for approx $1000 (10 acres for $500). Now your ready to plant your babies. 2. If you don’t have land for your Christmas tree farm are there ways to get it for free, very cheap, or through some type of sharecropping/rental arrangement?

I have yet to find free land. However there are many farmers who will sharecrop his/her land with you. Usually everybody involved agrees that a 50% split is fair. The farmer provides the land, the grower provides the knowledge/experience. Costs are split 50/50. Profits are split 50/50. I’ll get to the profits later. 3. How much land do you need for a Christmas tree farm? How much is ideal?

I’m often asked “How much land do I need?” My answer is “Do you have a business plan, and/or do you have a buyer for your trees when it comes time to sell them?” A tree typically takes 6 to 8 years to grow (1 foot per year), so you’re tying up the land for quite awhile.

Just about every State I believe has a extension service or a Christmas tree association and (like the Granges in the old days) there are folks who will gladly help. All you have to do is ask, or give me a ring, I’m happy to help and steer you on the right course.

Christmas Trees: Growing and Selling Trees, Wreaths, and Greens Price: Buy Now on Amazon Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 4. Can this (Christmas tree farming) be done anywhere or is it exclusive to the Pacific Northwest?

However, ask the folks down in North Carolina or Pennsylvania, or Michigan and they will tell you that they “grow the best trees”. We actually have competitions every year, when growers from all over the country get together and “tell tall stories” and “talk tree”. 5. In general, what type of Christmas trees do you plant and which do you have to purchase?

There is a rule of thumb. Buy a tree for $10 and sell it for $30. That’s minimum margins. However, (and again, it’s all in the buy), you can typically buy a tree for $15 and with the right location that tree can sell for $50 to $80. That’s GREAT margins. Location is the key to retailing. 7. What about advertising? How do you get people to buy Christmas trees from you?

Advertising is important. We usually set up and sell pumpkins. We create a fun pumpkin patch. Folks coming in and driving by see that there is a seasonal legitimate business on the corner and come on in. Also supplying the Christmas tree lot retailers are companies that sell banners, stands, and tree lot supplies.

So put as many flags and banners and signs out as you can. Last year we had a team out side the lots waving to the folks driving by. They were wearing little elf’s costumes. Flyers in local stores, with a bring this in for $2 off your tree. Most folks buy tree with in 2-3 miles of their homes. 8. How much can you realistically make selling Christmas trees in a season? A breakdown of the numbers would be appreciated.

$15,000 to $20,000 per location. Location. Location. Location. Typically a Christmas tree lot at a half way decent location will sell anywhere from 500 to 1000 trees. Now we all know this is a seasonal business so you have to “hit it hard”. There’s no time to be sitting around.

Growing Christmas Trees: Select the Right Species, Raise the Best Trees, Market for the Holidays Price: $8.38 Buy Now on Amazon Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 9. What are some of the mistakes you made or you see others making when trying to do a Christmas tree farm?

The key to any successful business is knowing that you have to plan. If you fail to plan, you can plan on failing. Hard work, and again, there are so many folks that are more than happy to help on your journey. Have fun making money. It’s fun making money!

Gregory says, “I think it would be fun to help others in need of making some extra money for their families to show them how to sell Christmas trees.” He’s doing so formally by offering up classes this Summer at his farm near Portland. Visit The Christmas Tree Man for more information about the classes and to view a video from Gregory.