The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Land Management => Topic started by: Blinkers on December 31, 2012, 11:43:29 am

Title: Christmas Trees
Post by: Blinkers on December 31, 2012, 11:43:29 am
Rather than hijack someones elses post which just happened to mention grazing sheep amonst Christmas Trees, I thought I'd start a new one specifically about Christmas Trees  :thumbsup: .    We are thinking about growing a few but not sure about what type of land/ground/soil is required.     Anyone on here got experience of growing them please?
Ta
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: ShaunP on January 02, 2013, 08:04:45 am
I have around 7500 in the ground and have been growing since the spring 2008. I choose the cheaper Norway Spruce as I have wet ground and was told that Nordmans are harder to grow and slower. They are more expensive but I wanted a quicker return. It is worthwhile talking to the nurseries about your ground conditions to get some advice on what is suitable.


They have taken more work than I thought they would but I enjoy the work, spraying and clipping, getting the sheep has been a major reduction on the workload.


I buy in 2 year old seedlings, last year I potted them all and will plant them out in spring. I am hoping that by potting first they have developed a bigger root system as when the first lot of seedlings where planted straight out they suffered during the dry summers of 2009/2010!!!


Hope to have a good crop to harvest at the end of this year!
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: doganjo on January 02, 2013, 10:25:41 am
Presumably you would need to do follow up sowing/planting to keep the flow going, so it must be quite an initial start up cost?
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: ShaunP on January 02, 2013, 11:58:59 am
I started by planting 1000, then 1500 each year, so just recalculated,  I have 7000.

What is important is fencing them off so the rabbits dont get them. I fence off the area for the pigs to clear the plots first, then plant later. I have now cleared as much as I will plant so again putting some into pots will help with the amount I can keep going in the system.

It is a long term think and you have to have some idea where or how you intend to sell them.

The seedling are around 0.30 each. So 1500 is around 500 including delivery. The fencing for each plot is around about the same.
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: littleacorn on January 02, 2013, 12:13:29 pm
What area does your batch of 1500 trees cover ?
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: Tala Orchard on January 02, 2013, 12:48:17 pm
Hi we have just potted up a 1000 Norway Spruce  and will plant them out in the Spring you need approx a quarter of an acre for a 1000 trees spaced approx1.2metres apart. We intend to plant 1000 trees a year for four years therefore it will account for 1 acre. We have wet and heavy soil on clay and they should thrive.

Ideally you should speak to Cheviot Trees who are very helpful towards new growers, that is from whom we purchased our Christmas Trees and we have used them for other trees ie for hedging etc.

Tala Orchard.
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: ShaunP on January 02, 2013, 02:25:11 pm
And dont make the mistake I made at the start by planting at 0.90m to save space!!
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: LittleMrsC on January 18, 2013, 03:13:22 pm
 :wave:
Hi

I'm just reading this thread and it has been so very useful. All the questions I wanted to ask have already been answered bar one. How many years until your trees reach maturity? and also what height is that? (actually that's a cheeky 2 questions!)
We have a 5 acre smallholding that is already part woodland and part brush. We have cleared the brush and are getting rare breed pigs into rotavate the rest. We are keeping our Ash and coppicing the willow for the woodburner. I originally thought about having Xmas trees along all the banked hedges but now  that I know 1000 cover only 1/4 acre I think I'll set aside a whole acre over 4 years.

Thanks Tala Orchard & Shaun P for your advice

 :excited:
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: Blinkers on January 18, 2013, 06:30:18 pm
I've actually only just caught up on this post  :-[ , so glad its popped up again with another poster  :relief: .
Thanks for the info - I had no idea you could fit so many on such a small space  :o .   Will check out Cheviot Trees  :thumbsup: .  How long would it take for the first ones to reach about a metre high (for example)?
Shaun P  - are you saying that the sheep mow inbetween them.....and don't touch or damage them ?
Many thanks again.   Some very interesting and helpful comments so far  :thumbsup: .
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: Tala Orchard on January 18, 2013, 09:28:00 pm
Hi all, it will take approx 4-5 yrs growth for the trees to reach about 4'-5', regarding sheep as far as we have been told they will mow between the trees however you will need to take them out in early spring when the fresh shoots start to grow as they seem to like the fresh tips.

Tala Orchard
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: Mel Rice on January 18, 2013, 10:06:59 pm
As last post said , sheep will eat the new growth so you cant put them in untill they harden off.
Many people here grow a selection of trees on a small/odd space and sell them direct from the field localy. the trees are different sizes (non being alowed to get too big0 and shapes as well as varieties. I have seen the trees picked out and marked (often with a ribbon) long before they are cut and delivered.
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: Blinkers on January 19, 2013, 11:04:19 am
As last post said , sheep will eat the new growth so you cant put them in untill they harden off.
Many people here grow a selection of trees on a small/odd space and sell them direct from the field localy. the trees are different sizes (non being alowed to get too big0 and shapes as well as varieties. I have seen the trees picked out and marked (often with a ribbon) long before they are cut and delivered.

Now that's what we had in mind - just to do a couple of handfuls on a patch of ground down near the stream.   Would the fact that it gets a bit 'wet' be a problem do you think??
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: Tudful Tamworths on January 20, 2013, 04:12:31 pm
We're on heavy clay and it didn't bother the 1500 we planted, many moons ago - had Norway Spruce, Nordmann, and Noble. Biggest problem was weed/grass control when the plants were small. Used mulch mats, but it was still a struggle. Make sure you leave sufficient room so you can mow between them, too. I'll second the recommendation for Cheviot Trees. I think I also used Buckingham Nurseries.
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: Blinkers on January 20, 2013, 06:45:11 pm
Brilliant, thanks Tudful  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: lachlanandmarcus on January 20, 2013, 09:49:29 pm
Is security an issue- have heard of some nasty types in gangs stealing the trees? Bit like turkey farming - they see a quick cash profit I guess?
Title: Re: Christmas Trees
Post by: Derby_menagerie on February 05, 2013, 03:48:21 pm
Thinking out loud her, how about some geese to graze down the grass and weeds? I've never seen my geese having a nibble on the trees or bushes?