Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Growing Christmas Trees in Alabama ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Growing Christmas Trees in Alabama
Category: Science > Agriculture and Farming
Asked by: mrchristmas-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 13 Jan 2003 19:54 PST
Expires: 12 Feb 2003 19:54 PST
Question ID: 142345

I own 110 acres of good quality agricultural land in Fayette County,
Alabama. This property is located about 100 miles NW of Birmingham in
the county adjacent to Tuscaloosa County. For the most part, about 80
acres of this land is already cleared and has lay fallow for the past
10 years, and prior to that was designated as pasture land for cattle
for about 20 years. In more distant decades, this land has
successfully grown soybeans, cotton and corn and other annual crops.
This land has good drainage and relatively good topsoil and is next to
an available city water source. It slopes gently from a flat hill, and
fans out in terraces down to a river bottom and is surrounded by
decideous forrests of oak, walnut, hickory, and other indigenous
species mixed with conifers. The lay of this land is primarily flat
and easily accessible by vehicle from a main road. Few rocks or
barriers are present and it consists of mostly soil that is covered
over by grassland. About 15 acres or so is still planted in Alfalfa
hay and is cultivated annually. There is a natural spring and rights
to draw water from the river that runs through the property for
irrigation if so desired.

My interest: 

I am interested in the possibility of starting to grow Christmas trees
of some variety (whatever is the most economically viable for the long
term, the most popular sellers and the best in terms of growing on
this property.) I understand that there are already existent Christmas
tree plantations in Louisiana and East Texas that are economically
viable and would be at a similar latitude to my property.

I would need to know:

1. Is this possible in the first place given the soil, rainfall and
temperature conditons in this area?
2. If so, what species/s of Christmas tree would be best suited to
grow here?
3. Is this economically viable in this area of the country and would
it be considered a good option for a money making venture?

Depending on your answer I would be interested in paying for follow up
answers to additonal questions I might have.

I would also be interested in any and all pertinent information that
you could offer on growing Christmas Trees in this area, starting a
Cristmas Tree growing operation, etc.

Thank you for your time.
Subject: Re: Growing Christmas Trees in Alabama
Answered By: tar_heel_v-ga on 13 Jan 2003 21:01 PST

Thanks for your question.  Wow. 110 acres of prime farmland. 
Congratulations!  Turning that land into a Christmas tree farm is very
possible and there are several Christmas tree farms in Alabama to
prove it.  There are roughly 18,000 tree farms in the United States. 
Every state is represented in that list, including 80 or so from
Alabama.  The farms in Alabama generate about $1,000,000 in sales each
year.  Don't feel that your location would be a hinderance.  About 95%
of Alabama tree farmers are what is called choose and cut operations. 
In other words, they grow the trees and families come out to the farm
and pick a tree and have it cut then and there.  These are very
similar to pick your own fruit and vegetable farms.  Therefore, not
only will you be a farmer, you will also be a retailer.  Choosing
which species is major choice you will have to make.  Trees of
interest to Alabama growers are Virginia Pine, Leyland Cypress,
Arizona Cypress, Eastern White Pine (for north Alabama growers) and
Eastern Red Cedar.  About 50% of trees grown in Alabama are Leyland
Cypress with Virginia Pine coming in second with about 40% and Arizona
cypress, red cedar and white pine at about 10%.  You can learn more
about each specific species at  You will need to decide
whether to have cut trees or container trees that people can replant.

To give you an idea of what is required of tree farmers, here is a
calendar of to-do's from the Alabama Christmas Tree Association
newsletters.  I removed "Mow and Herbicide as needed" which occurs
twice a month:

1. Spray for tip moth as scheduled
3. Spray for needlecast
4. Continue first shearing
10. Maintain fire breaks
17. Straighten leaning seedlings
18. Remove multiple stems and deformities on one-year old trees
1. Line-up wholesale markets
2. Order seedlings for next year
3. Spray for tip moth as scheduled
4. Check for insects and diseases
5. Check for scale insect crawlers
22. Check for insects and diseases
5. Check for insects and diseases
10. Contact wholesale buyers
15. Shear trees two years and older
24. Spray for tip moth in one and two-year-old trees
1. Take soil samples of areas to be site-prepared in
3. Spray for tip moth as scheduled
4. Check for scale insect crawlers
5. Shear trees three years and older
6. Final shearing (light; if needed) for trees to be sold this year
14. Order colorant spray (can be purchased at ACTA annual meeting from
vendors to save shipping and a special rate)
15. Initial inventory of marketable trees
16. Look for new markets for trees
26. Check for diseases and insects
Spray for tip moth as schedule 
Harvest annual cover crop 
Order specialty items to be sold during tree sales 
Spray three year and older trees for needlecast 
Continue looking for new markets 
Lightly shear all trees to be sold this year 
Spray three year and older trees for needlecast
Check liability insurance, especially in choose & cut operations 
Site preparation for next year planting, subsoil etc. 
Check for insects and diseases 
Grade and mark all trees to be sold 
Spray colorant on all trees to be sold this year (Before first frost)
Spray three year and older trees for needlecast

As for the economics of tree growing as a successful operation, bear
in mind ne of the biggest issues you will face is that it will be
anywhere from 8 to 10 years before your trees are ready for sale.  Do
you have that long to wait?  You may want to consider dedicating some
of the land to other crops, still in a pick your own mode, but
something to generate revenue while you are waiting for your trees to
grow.  Below are some recommended books you can look at that will go
into great detail about the economics of tree farming:

Christmas Trees: Growing and Selling Trees, Wreaths, and Greens by
Lewis Hill
ISBN 0882665669

Christmas Trees for Pleasure and Profit by A.G. Chapman
ISBN 0813510740

I would also recommend you contact Ken Tilt with the Alabama
Cooperative Extension System.  He is responsible for assisting the
tree farmers throughout the state.  His email address is  Another place you may want to look is at
other tree farms in Alabama.  You can find a list of some growers at

In the references section below, I have placed some additional
resources for you to use, some that are specific to the Alabama
Christmas Tree market.  Combined with the information you can get from
Mr. Tilt, this should give you a good feel of where you need to go and
how to get there to become a successful grower.

I wish you luck in your business endeavor.  If you need any additional
clarification, please let me know!



Search Strategy:
christmas tree farming
christmas tree farm alabama

Alabama Cooperative Extension
Alabama’s Christmas Tree Industry, Lean but Profitable

National Christmas Tree Association

Christmas Tree Production
View the various newsletters as they have great detail regarding the
processes in farming

Christmas Trees: An Economic Assessment
Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.  A very nice government study on tree
farming.  A bit dated, but gives good insight.
There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy