What Does a Christmas Tree Grower Do?

Dan Cavallari

Christmas trees tend to pop up in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then shortly after the holiday, those evergreen trees disappear from the consciousness of most people. A Christmas tree grower, however, must work year-round to plant and maintain the trees that will be cultivated and cut for use at Christmas time. The Christmas tree grower will prepare the land for planting, then he or she will plant saplings. These saplings can take up to six years to grow to the appropriate height; during that time, the grower must ensure the trees are growing in the proper shape for use as a Christmas tree.

A Christmas tree.
A Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree grower is responsible for all aspects of the planting and growing process, not to mention the marketing and sales processes. Before a single tree can be planted, the Christmas tree grower will need to plan the Christmas tree lot carefully. It is important to ensure there is enough space between trees, not only for the health of the trees themselves, but also to ensure the common machinery used to maintain the trees will fit between the growing trees. The amount of land as well as the amount of trees to be grown will dictate the spacing between the trees on the land.

Christmas tree growers spend the whole year tending groves of future Christmas trees.
Christmas tree growers spend the whole year tending groves of future Christmas trees.

Once the lot has been planned, the Christmas tree grower must plant saplings properly and monitor them daily to ensure they are growing well. As the saplings grow into trees, the Christmas tree grower will trim the trees occasionally to ensure they are growing into the conical shape most associated with Christmas trees. The soil must be tended to in an effort to ensure the trees get enough water, oxygen, and nutrients during the growing process.

Once the trees reach a certain height, the Christmas tree grower must cut the trees, transport them safely, and sell them to retailers or directly to consumers. The trees must be cared for during the transport and sale process to ensure they are not damaged, starved of nutrients, or dehydrated. The grower may sell the trees to retailers, or the grower may sell the trees directly on site at the Christmas tree farm. Some growers even set up temporary Christmas tree stands on roadsides or in parking lots in cities and towns. Throughout the entire process from planting to sale, the grower is responsible for tracking profits and losses, and maintaining a payroll for employees. This can be difficult, as it often takes up to six years for a planted tree to turn a profit.

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Discussion Comments


@Logicfiest -- That may be one of the reasons that a good number of Christmas tree growers I've met are retired and wanted to do a little something fun with some acreage they have.

By the way, if you get the chance to go by a Christmas tree farm in November or December, just do it. Don't ask questions. Just do it.

You will often find tours, hot chocolate, photos and a lot of activities. Those farms are about more than just selling trees when Christmas rolls around.


It should be pointed out that most Christmas tree farmers (or the ones I've met, anyway) usually have a full-time job lines up because you can't make a living selling Christmas trees. The only "full time" types I know of when it comes to growing trees are farmers. Adding a bunch of Christmas trees to the mix of things to do can be a way to avoid falling into a long stretch of time when the farmer is growing and selling nothing.

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