Jason Wilkinson Nursery

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Christmas Tree Production

Fun Facts about Christmas Trees

We are often asked about the process of Christmas tree production and why Christmas trees seem to be so expensive. The production process is very time-consuming and costly, but it is also a very interesting one! We have put together the following fun facts for you:

At the very first step, new cuttings are cultivated in a seedling nursery. It takes an average of 4 years for the trees to grow to a size able to be transplanted for growers like us.

After those 4 years in a seedling nursery, we buy the stock and plant them in our fields. While all varieties grow at different rates, the average time for a tree to grow to a marketable 7 feet is 7 years in the field!

The time and cost per acreage of Christmas trees:

–>Planting an acre: requires 12 man hours and a tractor with a planting machine.
Each tree requires 30 square feet to grow. Lots of beauty space!

–>During the next 7 years, each acre requires: 700 pounds of fertilizer, 3.5 concentrated gallons of weed killer, 42 man hours, a large tractor with a larger mower and a small tractor with a small mower to mow the field, 112 man hours and spraying machines to apply weed killer, 28 man hours to apply fertilizer, and 448 man hours to prune and shape.

–>Additionally, if necessary, numerous more gallons, machinery, and man hours are required to spray for pests and diseases.

–>Harvesting the 7 foot trees: it will take 196.5 man hours to harvest one acre of trees and prepare them for sale. This requires several separate pieces of equipment to do each of the following: cut the trees, ties them up, load and unload them, shake the old needles out so they are clean and healthy, and drill holes into the bottom for tree stands. The trees are brought onto our lot and stood. After selling, they are run through a baling machine for easier transportation and loaded onto your vehicle.

–>TOTALS: 11 years of production, a conservative manpower estimate of 838.5 hours per acre, fertilizers, weed controls and disease/pest controls, land costs, and a total of up to 10 different pieces of equipment. Every grower is required by law to pay an annual licensing fee payable to the PA Department of Agriculture. Additionally, annual property taxes must be paid on the acreage.

–>And of course, Mother Nature is not always the most cooperative business partner. Droughts, pests, diseases, and deer damage are some of her less beneficial gifts.

The average cost of a meal at McDonald’s for 4 is approximately $20.00-35.00. The average price for a dozen long stem roses at Valentine’s Day is about the same as a 7′ tree at $67.00. Christmas trees are a better bargain than a dozen roses! Roses last only 3-7 days and cannot be recycled. BUT our average 7′ tree retails at $67.00 and will last 3-4 weeks when properly cared for. In comparison, Christmas trees are a marvelous bargain!

Part of a spectacular tradition, our Christmas trees will provide enjoyment for an entire family and their friends, and they can be recycled in an environmentally friendly way after the holidays. If you purchase a live tree, you can plant them in your yard afterwards for enjoyment for generations to come!

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