The Year-Round Importance of Christmas Tree Production to Indiana’s Ag Economy

Christmas trees being grown at Millbrook Tree Farm near Yorktown in Delaware County. Photo courtesy of Millbrook Tree Farm.

As part of National Ag Week, Hoosier Ag Today is highlighting several different ag industries—including one that you may not be thinking about this time of year.
“The Christmas tree season for the general public goes from November to December, but for us farmers, it’s 12 months,” says Brent Reed with the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association. He and his wife Cara also own Millbrook Tree Farm in Yorktown not far from Muncie.
Reed says Christmas tree production involves a lot of work from January to October.
“Currently, I’m picking up seedlings this month to plant for the next eight-to-ten years of the future,” according to Reed. “I’ve already picked up my first batch of seedlings and I’m going to pick up my next batch of seedlings this Friday. We will plant a minimum of one tree for every tree that was cut down on our farm. We try to make it one-to-two trees that are cut down, so you’re trying to hedge your bets on the mortality that you’re going to see from the summer before.”
Not only is it a year-round process to grow Christmas trees—it’s also nearly a decade-long process.
“The pine trees—which would be like a Scotch pine or a White pine that people would get for Christmas tree—on average, is about seven years to harvest. That’s talking about a seven-and-a-half to an eight-foot tree,” according to Reed. “A fir tree, which would be like a Fraser fir—even though most of the state can’t grow them—those trees are the seven-to-eight foot harvestable trees and they’re running around eight to ten years of growth.”
How many Christmas trees can be grown on just one acre of land?
“The traditional spacing on one acre—you’re going to get about 1,100 Christmas trees, and that gives the customer a little bit of a breathing room when they come. Plus, it gives the tree a nice full growth ring.
So, what advice does Reed have for those who may be interested in starting their own Christmas tree farm?
“Talk to your local grower when you go out for the season to buy a tree,” says Reed. “Every one of the growers in the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association are more than happy to talk to people about starting a tree farm.”
Indiana ranks 11th in the U.S. for Christmas tree production—with nearly 200,000 harvestable trees for the Christmas season.
Read more about the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association at 
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news story and interview with Brent Reed with the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Click BELOW to hear the FULL Podcast interview with Brent Reed with the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association.

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