Are you looking to make some extra money this holiday season?
A Christmas tree farm may be the perfect option for you—especially if you have some agricultural experience and access to a couple of acres of land.
Keep reading to learn more.
How Much Money Can You Make Selling Christmas Trees?
Like any new business undertaking, Christmas tree farming has startup costs. But once your farm is established, you can make a decent profit.
Depending on which state you live in and the type of trees you sell, you can expect to make anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per tree, depending on its size.
Additionally, farmers can make even more money by selling pre-cut trees and wreaths during the holiday season.
These larger items often sell for higher prices than the live trees themselves.
The amount of money you stand to make will vary greatly depending on your location, the size of your farm, whether your customers cut down their own trees and other factors.
That said, many farmers typically max out their profits at around $15,000 – $20,000 ( £12,918 – £17,224) per season.
Start-Up Costs for a Christmas Tree Farm
As the old adage goes, “it takes money to make money,” so you’ll need to have some cash stored away to launch your Christmas Tree farm.
Starting costs to run a small farm are relatively minimal, especially if you already own the land or can obtain it cheaply through a lease or purchase.
However, start-up costs for a larger operation may be substantial. You will need heavy machinery such as a tractor and loader to prepare the land for planting and harvesting.
Here are a few costs to consider:
- Purchasing land. Many folks prefer to have 10 – 20 acres on which to grow their trees.
- The cost of seedlings. Costs will vary depending on your location and the type of seedlings you purchase, but you can typically purchase 100 seedlings for just under $100.
- Growing supplies. You’ll need soil, fertilizer, mulch and more to grow and maintain your Christmas trees.
- A tractor to prepare the soil. Or, the cost of labor for someone else to do it.
- The ongoing cost of maintaining the land. This includes, among other things, watering, mowing and weeding.
- Tools and equipment for tending to the trees as they grow. Trees will need regular pruning.
- The costs of any labor you hire.
- Marketing costs. Typically, the cost of marketing for a Christmas Tree farm is relatively low. You’ll likely need to purchase signage and may also wish to take out ads online, in your local newspaper, etc.
- Insurance and permits required to run a farm in your area. This can run you several thousand dollars in the early stages of your business.
As your business grows, you may also want to purchase additional land for expansion. Many Christmas tree farmers start out by leasing small plots of land that can easily be tilled.
As their operation grows, however, they will need to expand their operations by purchasing additional land.
Are You a Good Candidate for Growing Christmas Trees?
If you’re new to farming or growing plants, we don’t recommend starting with a Christmas Tree farm.
It’s a large undertaking that’s best approached with some previous agricultural knowledge.
That said, if you have some farming experience under your belt — and especially if you already have land — Christmas Trees can be an excellent way to bolster your income.
Here are a few factors that will make you an excellent Christmas Tree farmer:
You Live in a Warm, Moist Environment
You’ll do best growing Christmas Trees if you live in an environment where the temperature hovers between 40° F and 70° F and there is consistent moisture.
Trees that are grown in these conditions will rapidly develop a strong root system that provides them with support while they are growing.
These trees also tend to be disease resistant and grow much faster than trees that are grown in less ideal conditions.
In addition, they are more adaptable to changing weather conditions than trees that are planted in colder regions.
If you live in an area that experiences mild winters, you may be able to grow your own Christmas trees indoors.
Keeping them in a warmer environment is beneficial until they have grown enough to adapt to cooler temperatures outdoors.
In most places, you will need to wait until spring to plant your trees so that they can mature and start producing cones before the first frost hits in the fall.
Other factors that lead to thriving Christmas Trees include:
- Well-drained, nutrient-dense soil with a pH of 5.1 to 6.5
- Soil that is at least 18 inches deep to allow room for rooting
- Adequate, safe roads for customers (or harvest services) to access your Christmas tree farm
You Have Ample Time to Dedicate to Farming
It generally takes at least two years from the time you plant a tree until it can be harvested and sold.
Some trees will be ready to harvest sooner and some will take longer depending on the weather and the conditions under which they are grown.
The time you’ll need to dedicate to maintaining your trees grows as your trees do. Large trees require more upkeep and shearing them alone can take a full day at a time.
You Have Enough Space to Dedicate to Growing Christmas Trees
The amount of space you need to grow your Christmas Trees depends on your plans.
If you plan to grow only a small number of trees or you want to sell just a few trees each year, you may be able to set up a farm on a relatively small plot of land.
However, if you plan to grow a larger number of trees, you will either need a larger piece of land or to find a smaller parcel of land that you can use in conjunction with another farm to raise all of your trees.
You can grow about 1,500 Christmas trees on one acre of land.
Pros and Cons of Selling Christmas Trees
Simply put, Christmas tree growing is a joyful business! You get to earn profits while helping other people enjoy the holiday season.
It can also serve as a part-time business that can help you supplement your income during the off-season when your other businesses might not be as busy.
That said, starting a Christmas tree farm is a lot of work.
It will require a lot of your time and you will be on call for your trees throughout the year to make sure that they stay healthy and are not harmed by the weather conditions in your area.
You will also need to invest some money upfront into supplies and permits before you can get started.
You’re also growing your trees under a “deadline,” as they obviously need to be ready to go by the holiday season.
It takes some specialized knowledge to grow healthy trees and it can be difficult to make a profit if you are growing a large number of trees.
And finally, you’ll likely need to deal with some red tape when you start your farm. There are rules and regulations you’ll need to follow, along with permits you’ll need to obtain.
If you’re new to growing plants for profit, this can get overwhelming, so we recommend working with a qualified professional to help you makes sure all of your ducks are in a row.
How to Market Your Christmas Trees
Unlike the of-the-moment holiday toy that requires a million-dollar marketing campaign, Christmas trees don’t need much advertising. Everyone already wants to buy them!
The goal is simply to let your surrounding community know your trees are available for purchase. You might do this through:
- Bulletin boards at local stores
- Facebook posts
- Local newspaper ads
You can also set up a website for your trees. Be sure to include the details about each one along with the price, photos and contact information.
A Christmas tree farm is likely not a good “first” project for a new farmer.
However, if you have some agricultural experience, it can be a fun (and lucrative) way to supplement your income during the holidays.
Before investing in a Christmas tree farm, make sure you can afford the cost to maintain it and have the time to allow your trees to grow to their full potential.
Budget time to market your trees so customers know where to find you, and you’ll enjoy being one of the most enjoyable parts of your community’s holiday season!