Christmas trees can be grown on relatively small parcels of land. This enterprise can fit in well with an existing farm or nursery operation.
Christmas trees can be marketed in a choose-and-cut operation, where the consumer selects the tree and then assumes the cost of harvest and transportation. This type of operation is most successful when it is accessible to consumers and located near a populated area. Farms offering other Pick Your Own crops and agritourism activities often find that Christmas trees can add another customer visit to the farm during the winter season. Growers can also sell trees in a retail market, which means transporting the trees to a rental space and providing labor for tending the lot. Selling trees wholesale generally involves contracting with a buyer for a specific type and number of trees. It is difficult for small growers to compete with larger operations when marketing wholesale. Small growers need to develop a niche market by offering something other growers don’t have.
A number of different species of evergreen trees (conifers) can be grown as Christmas trees in Kentucky. The most popular and salable species are Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and Canaan fir (Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis). Other species include white pine (Pinus strobus), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens), and Fraser fir (Abies fraseri), although the latter is difficult to grow in Kentucky. Needle cast problems have made Scots pine a less desirable choice from a production standpoint, especially in areas where serious outbreaks occur. More than one species should be planted to reduce the potential for losses from diseases and insects.