Christmas tree cultivation
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
The first Christmas tree farm was established in 1901, but most consumers continued to obtain their trees from forests until the 1930s and 1940s. Christmas tree farming was once seen only as a viable alternative for low-quality farmland, but that perception has changed within the agriculture industry. For optimum yield and quality, land should be flat or gently rolling and relatively free of debris and undergrowth.
A wide variety of pine and fir species are grown as Christmas trees, although a handful of varieties stand out in popularity. In the United States, Douglas-fir, Scots pine and Fraser fir all sell well. Nordmann fir and Norway spruce sell well in the United Kingdom, the latter being popular throughout Europe. Like all conifers, Christmas trees are vulnerable to a range of pests.
The final stage of cultivation, harvesting, is carried out in a number of ways; one of the more popular methods is the pick-your-own tree farm, where customers are allowed to roam the farm, select their tree, and cut it down themselves. Other farmers cultivate potted trees, with balled roots, which can be replanted after Christmas and used again the following year
The practice of cultivating evergreens specifically to sell as Christmas trees dates back to 1901, when a 25,000 tree Norway spruce farm was sown near Trenton, New Jersey. The commercial market for Christmas trees had started fifty years earlier when a farmer from the Catskill Mountains brought trees into New York City to sell. Despite these pioneering efforts, most people still obtained wild-grown Christmas trees from forests into the 1930s and 1940s. More trees were grown in plantations after World War II, and by the 1950s farmers were shearing and pruning trees to meet customer demands. The Christmas tree market burgeoned through the 1960s and 1970s, but from the late 1980s onward prices and the market for natural Christmas trees declined. In the early 21st century, nearly 98 percent of all natural (non-artificial) Christmas trees sold worldwide were grown on tree farms.
Land and climate
Christmas tree farms are best located on relatively level land which is free of obstructions. In the past, Christmas tree farmers established their plantations on less desirable agricultural plots or "wastelands of agriculture". However, emphasis in modern Christmas tree farming has shifted toward the production of higher-quality trees, increasing land quality expectations as well. Indeed, some species of tree, such as the Fraser fir, are unable to grow on low-quality, marginal farmland. Flat or gently rolling land is preferred to that with steep slopes and inclines, which is prone to erosion and fluctuations in fertility. Noticeable obstructions, such as rocks, fences or significant underbrush, are also undesirable.
Like all crops and plants, Christmas trees require a specific set of nutrients to thrive. There are 16 elements crucial for growth; of those, three are obtained through air and water: hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, copper, chlorine, manganese, molybdenum, iron, and zinc are obtained from the soil. If the necessary elements are not available in the local soil, nutritious fertilizers are used. Other important soil considerations include pH and drainage. Certain types of soil are preferable, depending on the type of tree. Pine trees are usually better adapted to a sandy or sandy loam soil, while white spruce trees and fir trees, such as the Douglas-fir, prefer fine-texture loams and clay loam soils. Some trees grow well in all types of soil, but in any case, the land must be well-drained for a Christmas tree farm to have a chance of thriving.
The weather, as with other agricultural endeavors, plays a key outcome in the yield of a Christmas tree farm. Severe cold in the winter and extreme hot and dry conditions during and after harvest can cause irreparable damage to the crop. Early snow can make both harvesting and shipping trees difficult or impossible.
Labor and equipment
Christmas tree farming is a labor-intensive process. Depending on the quality of the land, bulldozing may need to be undertaken prior to planting, in order to remove obstacles such as large trees or rocks. If the volume of undergrowth requires it, the soil may be tilled; tilling can help remove any debris remaining after tree or weed removal. Both woody plants and herbaceous weeds must be controlled prior to planting; this is most often done by application of a chemical herbicide. In addition, some types of fertilizers must be introduced into the soil prior to planting. The work done before planting tree seedlings plays an important role in the overall success of a Christmas tree crop.
After the trees are in the ground, work on the crop continues. Animal pests (especially insects) and diseases must be monitored and controlled, and weed growth must also be minimized. Many species of pine and fir require pruning and shearing two to four years after planting to maintain the classic Christmas tree shape. Late or omitted pruning can result in trees that are unmarketable due to large gaps in needle coverage. Some species of pine, such as the Scots pine, are susceptible to dormant season "yellowing", which is generally countered with a green dye or paint.
The outlay of money on equipment varies greatly. Some items commonly found on Christmas tree farms are insecticide sprayers, tractors, and shaper sheers. Mechanized planters, at a cost of about US$4,000, are not essential but a work-saving luxury for farmers. Farmers can purchase seedlings, the lifeblood of a Christmas tree farm, from nurseries. One farmer in Oregon purchased seedlings for between US$200–300 per 1,000 plants. The farmer, a wholesaler, sold his final products for about $20 each; after the cost of the trees and other expenses, a profit of $2–3 per tree.
The best-selling species in the North American market are Scots pine, Douglas-fir, noble fir, balsam fir, Fraser fir, Virginia pine, and eastern white pine, although other types of trees are also grown and sold. In Alabama, for example, types of trees grown for use as Christmas trees include eastern white pine, redcedar, Virginia pine, Leyland cypress, and Arizona cypress. In Florida, the sand pine and spruce pine are among the 20,000 grown in the state each year.
In Great Britain, Nordmann fir is a popular species, largely due to its needle-holding qualities. Other popular trees in Britain are Norway spruce, Serbian spruce, and Scots pine, the last of which is slightly rarer; it has sharp needles which do not shed easily.
In the U.S. Pacific Northwest, a major Christmas tree growing region, Douglas-fir has always been the primary species grown. A full one-half of all trees produced in the Pacific Northwest are Douglas-fir. Douglas-firs typically take five to seven years before they are mature enough to sell as Christmas trees. Also common in the region are noble fir, a tree which commands a higher price than Douglas-fir, and grand fir, which accounts for about 10 percent of the annual harvest in the Northwest. Other species collectively account for only 3–5 percent of the total Northwest harvest.
In North America, Fraser fir, grown in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, has been called the "Cadillac of Christmas Trees" as well as the "most popular and most valuable of Christmas tree species". In the southern United States, Virginia pine is a popular Christmas tree species. In Canada, white pine, white spruce, Scots pine, blue spruce and Fraser fir are commonly cultivated. In the province of Ontario, Scots pine has always dominated both the domestic and export markets. Other regions of the world also have different favorites when it comes to natural Christmas trees, and Christmas tree farms reflect these; In Europe, Norway spruce is popular.
Pests, disease and weeds
Many of the conifer species cultivated face infestations and death from such pests as the balsam woolly adelgid, other adelgids and aphids. Invasive insect species, such as the pine shoot beetle and the gypsy moth, also threaten Christmas tree crops. Christmas trees are also vulnerable to fungal pathogens, resulting in such illnesses as root rot, and, in California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia sudden oak death. Douglas-fir trees are especially vulnerable to infections from plant pathogens such as R. pseudotsugae and Rhabdocline weirii; R. weirii affects only Douglas-fir trees. The pathogen often makes Douglas-fir trees unsaleable as Christmas trees and heavily affects the Christmas tree farming industry.
Mammals such as deer, gophers and ground squirrels are also threats to Christmas tree crops, due to the damage they cause to roots and buds. Certain species of birds are also considered pests, including the pine grosbeak, which feeds on conifer buds, usually affecting Scots pine but also affecting eastern white pine and red pine, as well as spruce trees. Herbaceous weeds, as well as woody plants, also compete with Christmas tree crops for water and nutrients, necessitating control methods including mowing, chemical herbicide use, and tilling.
|U.S. Premium||Fresh, clean, healthy, heavy density, one minor defect allowed|
|U.S. No. 1||Fresh, fairly clean, healthy, medium density, two minor defects allowed|
|U.S. No. 2||Fresh, fairly clean, healthy, light density,
three minor defects allowed
Christmas tree quality grades have been in place since 1965 in Ontario, Canada, and were included under the provincial Farm Products Grades and Sales Act. While the grades in Ontario are law, in the United States the grading system is not mandated. In fact, it is common for U.S. growers to develop their own grading systems. The grading systems established by individual jurisdictions are often in the spirit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) grading scheme, even if they are not entirely based upon them. The Department of Agriculture's United States Standards for Grades of Christmas Trees took effect on October 30, 1989, covering "sheared or unsheared trees of the coniferous species which are normally marketed as Christmas trees".
Christmas trees can be harvested and marketed in different ways. Some operations are known as "choose-and-cut" or pick-your-own farms, which allow customers to walk through the planted land, select their Christmas tree and cut down themselves. Wholesale operations are more labor-intensive because they usually require the farmer to complete tasks such as baling, cutting, moving the trees to a roadside pick-up, and loading the harvest. In addition, this work must be completed during a very short period in November. Growers also harvest trees by digging and balling the root and selling the trees as nursery stock or as live, reusable Christmas trees. This last option allows trees to be harvested earlier than the usual six- to ten-year period required to grow a mature Christmas tree.
Larger farms began using helicopters to move tree harvests during the 1980s. One 1,200-acre (490 ha) farm in Oregon lacked road access, so it began using helicopters to move up to 200,000 Christmas trees per year. Helicopters reduce the amount of time between harvesting and market, cutting it from up to two weeks down to as little as three days.
Not all natural Christmas trees harvested are grown on plantations. In British Columbia, Canada, for example, most of the 900,000 trees harvested for use as Christmas trees came from native pine and fir stands. The British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Ranges allows any resident of the province to cut a Christmas tree for free from Crown Lands, provided the individual receive prior permission in writing from a forest officer. In the United States, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management offer permits for individual tree cutting on government land, mostly within the National Forest system.
The people who operate Christmas tree farms range from full-time growers to part-time farmers. One farmer in Minnesota, who began planting Christmas trees in 1967, gave his trees away for free from his modest 1-acre (4,000 m2) farm for ten years before establishing a tree farming business. Other farmers started growing Christmas trees as a supplemental income for retirement or college funds, or they worked farms that were not originally established as Christmas tree farms.
Various national growers' associations have been founded in Christmas tree producing nations. In the United Kingdom, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association is a trade association open to membership from Christmas tree farmers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The National Christmas Tree Association serves a similar function in the United States.
In the United States, the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) promotes the environmental benefits of live Christmas trees over the competing artificial alternative. The NCTA stated that every acre of Christmas trees in production produced the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people; with 500,000 acres (200,000 ha) in production in the U.S. alone, that amounts to oxygen for 9 million people per day. The NCTA also stated that the farms help to stabilize the soil, protect water supplies and provide wildlife habitat. In addition, the industry points to the reduction of carbon dioxide through Christmas tree farming. An independent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study, conducted by a firm of experts in sustainable development, states that a natural tree will generate 3.1 kg of greenhouse gases whereas the artificial tree will produce 8.1 kg per year.
A 1998 report from the Michigan State University Agricultural Experiment Station predicted increasing environmental concerns about tree production and use as one possible reason people may favor artificial trees in the future. The report cited the use of fertilizers and pesticides and increasing concerns regarding tree disposal as the chief elements in its prediction. Critics of tree farming have raised the concerns highlighted in the 1998 report, as well as other issues, such as the effect that large-scale tree farming operations have on biodiversity. Pesticide use on Christmas tree farms is one of the main concerns of environmentalists; fir trees are vulnerable to a wide array of pests and diseases which requires the use of pesticides and other chemicals including the widely used herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is commonly used in Christmas tree production in the U.S. state of North Carolina, where studies have found traces of agricultural chemicals in homes and tree industry workers' urine samples. The average Christmas tree receives roughly a half of an ounce (14 g) of pesticide over its lifetime.
The BBC's "Gardening" website called buying Christmas trees directly from the farm, "the most environmentally friendly way of getting a tree". Other positive environmental attributes have been given live Christmas trees as well. Researchers at the University of Nebraska included the reuse of natural Christmas trees as mulch and, in larger quantities, piled up as soil erosion barriers, among the benefits of live tree use. Other positive reuses included fish habitat in private ponds and backyard bird feeders.
In 2002, overgrown Christmas trees were used in a project to restore a 1,200-foot (370 m) long section of severely eroded riverbank along the Connecticut River at the Birch Meadow Farm in Fairlee, Vermont. As part of the project, overgrown, 20–40 feet (6.1–12.2 m) Christmas trees were used to help create a revetment at the site in order to deflect the river current away from the restoration work site. The trees were placed in the river, with their tips pointed downstream, protected by a small rock tie back and cabled into the riverbank. After the trees were in place various plants were rooted among their branches.
Since 2004, several researchers at Oregon State University's (OSU) College of Forestry have researched various aspects of Christmas tree cultivation. In the Department of Forest Resources, Rick Fletcher is researching Christmas tree genetics, fertilization and disease management, while Chad Landgren is concentrating his emphasis on Christmas tree genetics and disease management. Both men are doing their research in the Silviculture and Ecology Section of the department. In OSU's Department of Forest Science, Mike Bondi is conducting ongoing research into Christmas tree fertilization, productivity and genetics, as well as natural and artificial regeneration systems. During the mid-1990s, the trio's research was primarily focused on creating better Christmas tree seed stock, resulting in a higher percentage of quality mature trees, through genetic improvements. Similar research has been conducted by the Agricultural Experiment Station at New Mexico State University.
U.S. institutions in other Christmas tree producing locales have also undertaken their own research programs. North Carolina State University has several full-time staff dedicated to all aspects of tree production. Specialties at N.C. State cross several academic departments and range from a Christmas tree genetics program to providing material support for growers in areas such as sustainable agriculture and pest management.
Activities related to the cultivation of Christmas trees require cross-disciplinary (forestry, horticulture, and agriculture) skills and fall into different specialty categories. Under the terms of Title 29 of the United States Code, which defines federal regulations pertaining to the United States Department of Labor, Christmas tree planting, tending and cutting are specifically not "farming operations". The U.S. Farm Service Agency (FSA) does not provide federal crop insurance for Christmas tree crops, however, there is an alternative program, through the FSA, which provides assistance for non-insured crops. The U.S. Census Bureau, responsible for the Agriculture Census until 1997, excluded Christmas tree farms as farms from its reports. When the Census of Agriculture authority was shifted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1997 the differences in definition were resolved and the Census of Agriculture included Christmas tree farms.
The status of Christmas tree farms as actual, by definition, farms, and their products thus agricultural in nature, has evolved in the various government agencies responsible for such categorization. In both Canada, and the United States the governments take a regular Census of Agriculture, reporting in these censuses relies on the classifications. Beginning in 1996, the Canadian government included Christmas tree farms in its Census of Agriculture concerning the issue of net farm income and farm cash receipts. The changes also included the addition of egg hatcheries to the census. The results were marginal with net cash farm income rising just 0.1 percent.
In the United Kingdom, Christmas trees do not fall into the category of enterprises included in farm profits. Instead, Christmas tree farms are classified as "market gardens". Market gardens are defined separately from farming and are nurseries or gardens used for the sale of produce other than hops. However, in Northern Ireland, some Christmas trees are cultivated and harvested by the Forest Service.
In the United States, visits to Christmas tree farms have become a Christmas holiday tradition for people. Christmas tree farms have embraced this trend; at one Minnesota tree farm it has become tradition for customers to pose for snapshots with their trees, when they return in subsequent years they can check the "wall of memories" for their photo. Other tree farms have served the same families for multiple generations, becoming a part of each group's holiday traditions. In 2006, New York state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick H. Brennan, supported the virtues of purchasing Christmas trees from local Christmas tree farms. In a statement released to support New York Christmas tree growers he stated,
It is a tradition in my family to visit our local tree farm and harvest our family’s Christmas tree. It is a wonderful event for the whole family and if you don’t already do so, I encourage you to share this tradition with your family. –NY Agriculture Commissioner Patrick H. Brennan, 2006
Some tree farms offer more than just a chance to cut down a live Christmas tree. Outdoor and holiday themed activities are not uncommon and include wagon rides, offering hot cocoa or cider, Santa Claus visits and holiday crafts. Many tree farms actively encourage schools to sponsor field trips to the farms. One grower in Kansas contended that usual worries for businesses, such as a tight economy, do not affect Christmas tree farms. The grower thought that obtaining a tree from a Christmas tree farm was something that almost nothing could stop; an activity that transcended the economy and the weather.
- Faber Harold. Off to the farm for a Christmas tree, (ProQuest), The New York Times, December 2, 1990, p. 17. Retrieved September 5, 2007.[dead link]
- Summers, Will. From Seed to Santa – A Tale of a Christmas Tree, Oregon Employment Department, November 28, 2005.
- Chastagner and Benson, The Christmas Tree: Traditions, Production and Diseases.
- Wolford, Christmas Tree Facts.
- Brown, et al., Bulletin 670: Choice of Lands for Christmas Trees.
- Leuty, Todd. Fraser Fir for Christmas Trees and Landscape Transplants, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Ontario), May 1, 2005. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- Hart, et al., Christmas Tree Nutrient Management Guide for Western Oregon and Washington.
- Johnson, et al., Tree Crops for Marginal Farmland: Christmas Trees With a Financial Analysis.
- Koelling and Dornbush, Growing Christmas Trees in Michigan.
- Barney and Finnerty, Christmas trees is this the crop for you?.
- Brown, et al., Bulletin 670: Plantation Establishment and Management: Preplanting Land Preparation.
- Lane, Pirjetta, et al. Christmas tree production in Iowa, (PDF file), Cooperative Extension Service, Iowa State University, December 1992. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- Preston, For a Very Merry Christmas, Invest in Trees for the Season. International Herald Tribune.
- Christmas Tree Facts, Plant Materials Program, National Resources Conservation Service, December 16, 2003; January 23, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2007.[dead link]
- Fischman, Bernice and Tilt, Ken. History of the Christmas Tree, College of Agriculture - Horticulture, Auburn University. Retrieved July 14, 2007.
- McEleroy, Terance. Florida-Grown Christmas Trees Presented To Governor Bush And Commissioner Bronson, (press release), Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, December 5, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Anonymous, Metro (London), Tree shortage threatens Christmas.
- BBC, Gardening.
- Bondi, An Introduction to Growing Christmas Trees.
- Vukina, Tomislav, et al. (2001). A Hotelling-Faustmann Explanation of the Structure of Christmas Tree Prices. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 83 (3): 513-525.
- Wolford, Tree Types.
- Leuty, Christmas tree production.
- Division of Communications: Untitled story, Outdoor Indiana, November/December 2006, Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 4, 2007.
- Sudden Oak Death (SOD) - Phytophthora ramorum, City of Victoria (British Columbia), Parks, Recreation & Community Development: Parks Division. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
- Cornell University, Rhabodocline Needlecast (Rhabdocline weirii).
- How To Identify and Control Rhabdocline and Swiss Needlecasts of Douglas-Fir, North Central Forest Experiment Station United States Forest Service, 1983. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
- Christmas Tree Pest Manual, Index A. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
- Christmas Tree Pest Manual, Shoot/Branch Injury, Table of Contents. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
- United States Department of Agriculture, "United States Standards for Grades of Christmas Trees".
- The table lists only a portion of the requirements for each grade. Each grade consists of 12 requirements. See United States Standards for Grades of Christmas Trees.
- The 12 requirements a tree must possess for the "U.S. Premium" grade are: characteristics typical of the species, butt trimmed (except for trees graded "on the stump"), normal taper, fresh, clean, healthy, well-shaped, not less than heavy density, handle length cannot exceed 6 inches (15 cm), or more than 1 1⁄2 inches (3.8 cm) for each foot (.3 m) of height (except for trees graded "on the stump"), in total three faces must not have more than one "minor defect", the other face may have only one minor defect. The final two requirements have to do with size and a few exceptions for cases where entire lots are required to meet the grade. See United States Standards for Grades of Christmas Trees.
- The 12 requirements a tree must possess for the "U.S. No. 1" grade are the same as U.S. Premium except for fairly clean, instead of clean, not less than medium density, and in total three faces must not have more than two "minor defects", the other face may have only one "noticeable defect". The final two requirements are also the same as those for the U.S. Premium grade.
- The 12 requirements a tree must possess for the "U.S. No. 2" grade are the same as U.S. Premium except for fairly clean, instead of clean, not less than light density, and in total two adjacent faces must not have more than three "minor defects", the other faces may have two "noticeable defects". The final two requirements are also the same as those for the U.S. Premium grade.
- Brown, James H., et al. Bulletin 670: Harvesting the Christmas tree crop, Ohio Christmas Tree Producers Manual, Ohio State University. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- Wholesale, New Hampshire-Vermont Christmas Tree Association, official site. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
- Kalkstein, KVAL News Channel 13 (Eugene, Oregon), "Christmas tree harvest".
- Christmas Trees, BC Farm Products A–Z, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
- Okanagan Shuswap Forest District, Information on cutting free Christmas Trees for Personal Use, British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Ranges. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Christmas tree permits, United States Forest Service, December 3, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Foster, Jessica. For 37 years, tree farm has built tradition in FL, Forest Lake Times (Forest Lake, Minnesota), December 8, 2004. Retrieved September 4, 2007.
- Briody, Judy. Family traditions abound at Christmas tree farm, Farragut Press (Farragut, Tennessee), December 16, 2004. Retrieved September 4, 2007.
- McLeod, Gerald E. Day Trips, The Austin Chronicle (Austin, Texas), December 12, 2003. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- Zigmond, Jessica. Christmas trees help hog business, Medill News Service, Northwestern University, August 17, 1999. Retrieved September 6, 2007.[dead link]
- Scott, Julia. Tradition grows at 'perfect' Christmas tree farm, Oakland Tribune, December 8, 2006, via FindArticles. Retrieved September 6, 2007.[dead link]
- British Christmas Tree Growers Association, official site. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- About Us, National Christmas Tree Association, official site. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- National Christmas Tree Association, "Real Christmas Trees are a Benefit to the Environment".
- Hickman, "Is it OK ... to get a Christmas tree?"
- Ellipsos Inc. "Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Christmas trees, A study ends the debate over which Christmas tree, natural or artificial, is most ecological", December 16, 2008; accessed online September 22, 2009.
- Koelling, Melvin R., et al. Christmas Tree Production in Michigan, Agricultural Experiment Station, Michigan State University, July 28, 1998. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Sidebottom, Frequently Asked Questions about Christmas Tree Farms and Pesticides.
- Wilson, Jon. Keep Christmas Trees Fresh and Safe, West Central Research & Extension Center, University of Nebraska, 4 December 2000. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
- EPA Sustainable Riverbanks Project on The Connecticut River, Region 1: EPA New England, United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 4 September 2007. Archived October 1, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Silviculture and Ecology, Department of Forest Resources, Oregon State University College of Forestry. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Current Research of 2004, Oregon State University College of Forestry. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Rost, Bob. OSU Extension helps growers improve Christmas tree genetics, (Press release), Oregon State University, News and Communications Services, December 9, 1996. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Christmas Tree Research and Forest Genetics, Agricultural Experiment Station, New Mexico State University, 2006. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- "Christmas Tree Research and Extension", North Carolina State University, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, accessed April 16, 2007.
- 29 CFR 780.208 - Forest and Christmas tree activities, Title 29, Chapter 5, Section 780.208, Code of Federal Regulations, United States Department of Labor. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Farm Service Agency, Agricultural Fact Book 1997, Office of Communications, United States Department of Agriculture, 1997, p. 4. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Hoppe. Robert A. and Korb, Penni. Farm Numbers: Largest Growing Fastest, (PDF file), Agricultural Outlook, October 2002, pp. 24–27, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
- "Net Farm Income, Agriculture Economic Statistics, Statistics Canada, May 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
- HM Revenue & Customs, Nurseries and Market Gardens - definition.
- Forest Fresh Christmas Trees, Forest Service (Northern Ireland), United Kingdom Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Retrieved September 10, 2007. Archived September 15, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Long, Tom. N.H. family's donation preserves Christmas tree tradition, The Boston Globe, 23 August 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
- Chittenden, Jessica A. Commissioner urges consumers to buy New York Christmas trees, (Press release), New York State Department of Agriculture, 7 December 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
- Go to a Christmas tree farm to relive, make, keep memories, Tennessee.gov, 13 November 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2007. Archived September 29, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Krug, Nick. Tradition clashes with economy, The Topeka Capital Journal (Topeka, Kansas), 2 December 2002, via FindArticles. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
- Anonymous. Tree shortage threatens Christmas, Metro (London), November 28, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Barney, D.L., and Finnerty, T.L. Christmas trees is this the crop for you?, (PDF), Alternative Agricultural Enterprises, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Idaho, June 1995. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Bondi, Mike. An Introduction to Growing Christmas Trees, Oregon State University Extension Service, Oregon State University, via Washington State University. Retrieved September 4, 2007.
- Brown, James H., et al. Bulletin 670: Choice of Lands for Christmas Trees, Ohio Christmas Tree Producers Manual, Ohio State University. Retrieved August 25, 2007.
- Brown, James H., et al. Bulletin 670: Plantation Establishment and Management: Preplanting Land Preparation, Ohio Christmas Tree Producers Manual, Ohio State University. Retrieved August 25, 2007.
- Chastagner, Gary A., and Benson, D. Michael. The Christmas Tree: Traditions, Production and Diseases, Plant Management Network International, (authors from North Carolina State University and Washington State University), October 13, 2001. Retrieved September 4, 2007.
- Cornell University, Rhabodocline Needlecast (Rhabdocline weirii), Department of Plant Pathology. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
- Day, Eric. Insect Pests of Christmas Trees slides, Insect Identification Laboratory, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, January 2002. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Christmas tree, Gardening, BBC. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Hart, John, et al. Christmas Tree Nutrient Management Guide for Western Oregon and Washington, (PDF), OSU Extension Service, Oregon State University, February 2004. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Hickman, Leo. Is it OK ... to get a Christmas tree?, Guardian (UK), December 6, 2005. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- HM Revenue & Customs, Nurseries and Market Gardens - definition, Business Income Manual (Contents), BIM62601, 2003–2007. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
- Johnson, James E. et al. Tree Crops for Marginal Farmland: Christmas Trees With a Financial Analysis, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, March 1997. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Kalkstein, Meghan. Christmas tree harvest, KVAL News Channel 13 (Eugene, Oregon), November 18, 2006. Retrieved September 5, 2007.
- Koelling, Melvin and Dornbush, Laurie J. Growing Christmas Trees in Michigan, Forestry Area Of Expertise (AOE) Team, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- Leuty, Todd. Christmas tree production, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, March 26, 1999; July 31, 2003. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- National Christmas Tree Association, Real Christmas Trees are a Benefit to the Environment". Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Preston, Holly Hubbard. For a Very Merry Christmas, Invest in Trees for the Season, International Herald Tribune, December 23, 2000. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Schmitz, John. Fungal disease of true firs attacking Christmas trees, The Capital Press, June 28, 2002, via Washington State University. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Sidebottom, Jill R. Frequently Asked Questions about Christmas Tree Farms and Pesticides, Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center, North Carolina State University, October 30, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- United States Department of Agriculture, Christmas Tree Pest Manual, Michigan State University Extension, 1997–1998. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
- United States Department of Agriculture, United States Standards for Grades of Christmas Trees, (PDF file), Agricultural Marketing Service, October 30, 1989, reprinted January 1997. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- University of California, Berkeley, A Christmas Tree Grower’s Guide to Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum), (PDF file), College of Natural Resources, November 20, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
- Wolford, Ron. Christmas Tree Facts, Christmas Trees & More, University of Illinois. Retrieved August 25, 2007.
- Wolford, Ron. Tree Types, Christmas Trees & More, University of Illinois. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christmas tree farms.|
- Attack of the Mutant Artificial Trees, Flash game, from the NCTA
- Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association, Canada
- Christmas Tree Magazine, trade publication
- British Christmas Tree Growers Association, Great Britain
- National Christmas Tree Association, United States
- CNN: Growers tag 'green' Christmas trees