Where Do Christmas Trees Grow?
Christmas tradition and holiday decor are often characterized by people heading to the local tree shop to look for a tree for the festive season. Research shows that an average of 8 million Christmas trees are sold each year in the UK, with approximately 100,000 certified trees. However, these trees may sometimes not be up to the standard you may be looking out for.
Growing evergreens purposely to sell as Christmas trees trace back to 1901 when a 25,000-tree Norway homestead was planted close to Trenton, New Jersey. Despite several pioneering efforts, a significant number of people got their Christmas trees from woodlands into the 1930s and 1940s. Following the Second World War, more Christmas trees were grown in manors. Since then, farmers sheared and pruned trees to satisfy the increasing demand.
According to Wikipedia sources, the market for Christmas trees expanded through the 1960s and 1970s, but the market declined from the last part of the 1980s. In the early 21st century, almost 98% of all common Christmas trees sold globally were developed in nurseries.
Denmark remains the largest exporter of Christmas trees worldwide, producing between 10 to 12 million, ahead of the United States. Meanwhile, Scotland is the largest producer in the United Kingdom due to the ideal soil composition, great climate conditions, and a bounty of open space, creating the ideal environment for the tree’s growth. Meanwhile, a large number of Christmas trees are planted and nurtured before they’re cut every year.
Types of Christmas trees
Compared to several objects used to signify festive celebrations, the Christmas tree has never lost its appeal. Better for the climate, the natural Christmas tree has considerably lower carbon tracks compared to the artificial ones. However, whatever type you go for based on colour, shape, or scent, the choices are endless. Here’s an overview of the popular Christmas trees worth considering.
Firs are currently among the most commercialized Christmas trees due to their beautiful colours, sweet-scented fragrance, and capacity to retain needles. The majority of these firs usually grow well in cooler temperatures or locations with high topography. However, the Douglas and Concolor fire can survive in a little warmer environment.
- Douglas fir: this type is most common in the United States
- Concolor fir: this is also known as the white fir
- Fraser fir: it’s usually found in local to high elevated areas in the Appalachians mountains
- Noble fir: this variety is the largest native in North America.
- Balsam fir: this type is the best fit for freezing temperatures
Unlike most firs, pines are well-known to be sturdy and can survive in both cool and warm climates. They grow quickly and can reach up to seven feet in six years under ideal growth conditions. Pines have several varieties, including
- Virginia pine: it has prickly cones and survives in the poorest soils
- White pine: this native pine is the tallest among the North American species
- Sand pine: it’s considered ideal for warmer temperatures
- Scotch pine: this species has a high reseeding capacity and poor soil tolerance
Spruces are the ideal choice if you’re looking for a bright, ancient Christmas tree feel. However, when this plant is used as a Christmas tree, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of, such as sharp and poor needle retention when displayed for a week or more. The majority of the spruce species thrive better in cooler climate areas for rapid growth. Varieties of this spruce plant include:
- Colorado blue spruce: this plant is locally known for its gorgeous green-blue needles.
- Norway spruce: despite being a native to Europe, the Norway spruce is largely used in North America.
● Cypresses and cedars
If you’d like to try a different kind of tree this Christmas, you should consider non-traditional species like the native red cedar or Leyland cypress. While the two may require less shaping, the Leyland cypress can grow up to seven feet in a comparatively short period, let’s say four years. Below are some examples of this unique species:
- Arizona cypress: this type is among the native fast-growing species
- Eastern red cedar: it comes with thick foliage with striking blueberries
- Leyland cypress: it’s the fastest grower among the different spruce plants, increasing by three feet every year under ideal conditions.
How to grow your own tree
Planting your own Christmas tree can be quite a demanding task since it can take between four to ten years before it reaches full growth. If you’re ready for this long-term project, here’s a comprehensive guide to getting your tree for your future holidays.
With the Christmas tree types earlier discussed in the article and your climate condition, you can decide which one best suits you. However, here are some climate conditions they’re best suited for when buying your seedlings or seeds from a greenhouse or nursery.
Growing your seeds or seedlings
To create the chilly dormancy period for your plant and increase the odds of your seeds growing, place them in a damp paper towel inside your fridge for a couple of weeks. Check periodically till you notice small green roots, then remove them for planting. Although you can use soil from a forest or a high field, another option is to plant the seedlings in a potting mixture of peat, perlite, and vermiculite. You can either use a little pot with drainage or plastic cups with poked holes underneath to serve as a holder. Afterward, follow these steps to help your tree grow:
- Put a few stones at the base of the container and add an inch or two of soil
- Add a few seedlings in every pot and cover with more soil while ensuring you position them a third apart
- Water the containers adequately before covering the top with a plastic layer wrap.
- Keep containers in areas with good sunlight or purchase fluorescent bulbs as light sources for seed warming
- After a few days, you’ll notice your seedlings beginning to emerge at the soil top. Remove plastic wrap and water them once every week
Preparing your site
Plant your seeds in an area that slopes and is exposed to adequate sunlight. This will provide your tree with the proper water drainage and air necessary for its growth. Before planting your tree, mow the entire area to remove any plant growth and reduce the chances of weeds interfering. Keep soil pH between 5.1 and 6.5.
A study has proposed that transplanting your seedlings must be done outdoors during the dormant season about early fall or late spring. Get started by digging a hole using the same size of the container as the one you used during planting at the nursery.
Planting depth and spacing are the primary critical considerations when cultivating the Christmas tree seedlings. However, the fundamental guidelines for planting the most Christmas trees are to plant them in rows six feet apart. It’d help if you planted seedlings approximately seven to eight feet apart inside every row. Ensuring proper spacing promotes airflow among the trees to minimize pest and disease risks.
Every seedling depth is crucial for the successful growth of the young trees. Plant the seedlings at the precise depth it was grown at the nursery. A more shallow or deeper depth will potentially kill the tree; therefore, the optimum depth is crucial. You can use the noticeable trunk colour change to figure the correct depth. Gently spread the roots after planting in the seedlings and water the tree appropriately after planting completion.
You may likewise consider plant staggering. This means you plant fresh seedlings every spring instead of planting all at a go. This guarantees that you can properly maintain your trees until they’re well-sized for several years.
During the first year, after planting the seedlings outside, water them every week, beginning from the late spring to the early fall in the first year. Experts have advised watering your trees with one to three inches of water every time unless there’s rainfall. Afterward, only water when there’s a drought or during dry periods.
To ensure proper care for your tree, maintain the site by removing any weeds or unwanted tree growth that may compete for your young tree’s nutrients. Begin pruning and shearing after the initial two to three years of planting. The tree’s crown or base should be two-thirds as wide as the tree’s full height. For example, an eight-foot tree should ideally have a five feet base width for an ideal shape.
Harvesting and preservation of tree
Although the tree’s harvest time should be based on its growth, the late fall when the tree is filled with moisture is considered most ideal. This guarantees that the Christmas tree can stay green for as long as possible during the holidays. You can either use a handsaw or chainsaw to cut your trees. Immediately the tree is cut down, place it in a container filled with water to ensure it can still draw water before resealing from where you cut it.
As demanding as growing your Christmas tree maybe, it’s a good pastime and rewarding experience for you and your family to enjoy the best of the holidays.