Christmas trees embraced this holiday season: the ins and outs of tree farming

Did you know that the lead-up to buying a beautiful fresh Christmas tree is actually more important than the time of purchase?

As Shirley Brennan, executive director of the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association explains, the most important part of their season is actually right before the holidays start. “The harvest is kind of the wind-down for us,” she says, and it’s the days where they’re cutting and shipping trees out that’s the wind-up to their growing season.

That growing season looks different in the several Christmas tree growing regions of the country.

“In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it is more of a natural stand where the trees themselves do a lot of the planting,” says Brennan. “In Quebec it’s a majority of plantations, where it’s rows upon rows of Christmas trees.” Ontario and B.C. have a u-cut set-up, as do other Christmas tree farms on the prairies.

Typically, Christmas tree farms don’t handle their own retail, but they do bring them into local big box stores, local charities, ship across the country, and internationally.

That being said, imagine an eight-year growth cycle once the seed is planted, to harvesting. It depends on a lot of factors, but that’s how long it takes for a spruce tree to reach Christmas tree size. For a fir tree, it’s 10 to 12 years, which is a long crop cycle — but planting is staggered, of course, and growers don’t plant all their land at once. The option to do a double season is there too — planting in spring or fall, or both.

Listen in to the full conversation between Brennan and Shaun Haney for more on challenges that Christmas tree growers face, and how the industry is doing right now:

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