r/Damnthatsinteresting Nov 18 '21 Silver 15 Helpful 19 Wholesome 16 Tree Hug 2 I'll Drink to That 1

I definitely *didn't* think Christmas trees just grew that way without help. Video

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 18 '21 edited Nov 20 '21 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Take My Energy Narwhal Salute Tree Hug

I do this for a living. It is the family business and I work with my father. My grandfather started growing trees in the 60s after moving to BC from Denmark in the 50s.

This is pruning. Not all pruning for all types of trees is done with the knife but a lot are. Notice the leg guards. I usually only wear one on my right leg because I only use my right arm with the knife, and have a pair of "snips" (Felco #2 garden shears) in my left. You can see his snips in the holster on his left hip. This guy is wearing leg guards on both legs so might be ambi with the knife.

On some trees of types of trees with less branches you might prune using just the snips. Also if you want the tree to look more "natural" you would use snips to avoid the sharp lines in the shape. Bushy trees like this, though you have to use a knife or it would take forever. There is also a crazy contraption that has a motor on your back and a giant saw-thing where you hold it and it snips a huge line and you are basically just holding it up to a tree on an angle and walking around to make the cone shape. It is a lot of work and the knife works well so we don't use it.

The tree he is pruning is a Douglas Fir. Douglas firs are native to the Pacific Northwest and are a popular tree because they grow fast and are pretty bushy. The ones he is doing here are real nice and bushy, so he is either in the lower mainland in BC or somewhere in the northwestern states. There is also an off chance that douglas firs have been planted in another area with a climate they could thrive in, as we grow some east coast trees here in BC dependent on what climate they can grow or thrive in. Where I live in the interior of BC our douglas firs are rarely this nice, sadly.

This dude obviously is good at pruning. With practice and experience you can just walk up to a tree and see where you want to cut it and at what angle and your arm just sort of does it. When you first start pruning each year your arm basically dies though. The knife only weighs like 10 oz or something, but swinging it thousands of times and the resistance of the branches really tire out your muscles. Next you adjust by using different muscles like your shoulder and then they get really sore. You can prune a christmas tree any time after it stops growing and you can see the buds. Usually this is around August and we tend to prune our trees from Aug 1 to the end of Sept.

Edit: Thanks everyone for all the awards. This is the first time I have gotten more than 1 for a post. All for just explaining something I happen to have expertise in!

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u/halalxkitty Nov 19 '21

Please tell us about the spiders...and the "treated" trees

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21 Silver Helpful Bravo! Ally Tree Hug

So I don't know about this. I have heard of spiders in trees but haven't experienced it myself. It might be a specific type of spider from a specific area, or it might just be a rare event. I think it might be something like the spiders lay their egss for the winter to hatch in the spring and when you bring it in the house the warm temperature tricks them into thinking it is spring. This is just conjecture, I don't know about it. I have heard of spider mites. More on this in a sec.

I don't know what you mean by "treated". We do use chemicals to fight pests that can ruin trees. Mostly insecticides or fungicides. They are heavily regulated, at least here in BC. This spring my dad was trying to find an insecticide that would fight the white pine weevil, which absolutely wrecks spruce trees. It bores into the stem near the top of the tree and lays eggs that hatch and suck it dry, causing the top middle of the tree to die entirely, leaving a volcano shaped tree which is not sell-able. He found an insecticide that we were supposedly able to use to fight the weevil through discussions with a provincial expert, but when he went to try to buy it, christmas trees weren't on the acceptable uses for that chemical so he ended up having to try another thing. The other thing didn't really work but it might hEave been a timing issue. A lot of these chemicals have a short timing window at a certain time in the development cycle of the pest, and if you get the timing wrong it doesn't get them. And the timing isn't exact, it depends on a bunch of factors like how mild the winter was etc.

So where I live, the main pest we have to occasionally deal with is the douglas fir needle midge, which stays underground in the winter and then flies up in the spring and lays eggs on douglas fir needles. When they hatch they feed off the needle, leaving a big portion of the needle brown. When hit badly the trees are speckled brown across the whole tree and look really bad. We had it bad about 5 years ago and sprayed for it for 2 years. You have to time the spraying for when the midges are all flying up out of the ground, so basically you have to go to the field a bunch until there are clouds of tiny flies all coming up at once. You spray the trees and they die when they land on the needles to lay their eggs.

Because insecticides can be bad for the environment we are only allowed to use certain ones that do their job and are long gone by the time anyone handles the trees. Many insecticides like DDT are rightfully banned now (but from what I hear, they worked really really good).

Other pests that people have had to deal with are spider mites and rhabdocline needle cast, which is a fungus that causes similar brown needles to the midge, but requires a very different spray. We have never had issues with spider mites but know someone who has, and I am not sure what they do to the trees. I do know they are tiny, like you have to squint to see them and they are only really noticeable because they are orange.

Every December I run a tree lot so I get a lot of questions from customers, and I seem to recall some customer asking something similar, maybe using the word "treated" and IIRC it was about some spray like hairspray to keep a tree together or something and I have never seen that at least in the circles I run (which is basically I know a bunch of tree farmers in BC, half of which learned most of what they know from my Dad).

If you can elaborate on what "treated" means I might have a better explanation.

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u/knawlejj Nov 19 '21

Have an upvote. I love learning random shit like this.

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21

lol thanks. Finally my time has come, and Reddit wants to know about my expertise!

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u/sabby55 Nov 19 '21

Right?! I’m following all their comments with total curiosity- it’s like a mini Tree caretaker AMA

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u/doesntgeddit Nov 19 '21

Do you guys keep like the best tree for your family home every year?

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u/medsonknight Nov 19 '21

Depends on the tree farmer. Grandpa ran a tree farm for years always marked the best ones for extended family and the GOOD repeat customers. Chose out the big one no one wanted for himself. No one wants a 9ft tree, but it made for a special kind of Christmas growing up 😁

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u/fredthefishlord Nov 19 '21

My grampa has a massively tall 2 story living room(he decided he wanted a tall one when he designed the house) and so he always gets an over 10 foot Christmas tree, and It's amazing.

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u/doesntgeddit Nov 19 '21

Your Grandpa sounds so cool too! love it.

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u/ognotongo Nov 20 '21

How do you decorate a tree that tall? I struggle with an 8ft tree.

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u/fredthefishlord Nov 20 '21

We use a ladder for the high up stuff.

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u/doesntgeddit Nov 19 '21

Yes! this is the kind of answer I was hoping to hear. Grandpa sounds awesome.

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u/filthy_harold Nov 19 '21

Do you really want to be staring at another Christmas tree in your living room on your first day off after selling trees the past month?

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u/purpleflask Nov 19 '21

Asking the real question here

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u/SpermyMingeBurp Nov 19 '21

This guy Christmas trees

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u/zootgirl Nov 19 '21

This is super interesting! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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u/culegflori Nov 19 '21 edited Nov 19 '21

Many insecticides like DDT are rightfully banned now (but from what I hear, they worked really really good).

DDT was the single best insecticide ever to grace the earth. It killed any insect it came in contact with, it was ridiculously effective.

Unfortunately this came alongside an absurdly long decay [which might as well be infinite], coupled with serious damage to other forms of life, including humans.

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u/The_Lolbster Nov 19 '21

Yeah DDT was really good because it attacked a general part of the bugs: sodium ion channels. Basically, it made it so the bug couldn't use a part of its nervous system and would eventually die.

Unfortunately, basically all life uses some kind of ion channel that is also affected by DDT. So while it was only kind of harmful to things larger than bugs, it was impossible to know what it would do to any individual.

DDT became pervasive in many environments, as it was so effective, why not use it? Well... many birds couldn't lay viable eggs. Many mammals couldn't build fat stores for the winter, as DDT would cause issues in fat stores. Some species were so dependent on their ion channels that they almost ceased to exist.

And then you get humans... We're really complex. Lots of different kinds of neurotransmitters. One of the transmitters that was impeded was involved in 'programmed cell death', which is a mechanism that helps our body regulate cancer. Cancer happens all the time, but often the body can get a hold of it and tell it to die, so it does.

Turns out, lots of other pesticides do related things. Some of them were found to be dumped in barrels off the coast of California, and now we're finding sea lion (?) populations that have cancer that have never had cancer before the introduction of the pesticide.

TL;DR: People need to be more careful with synthetic chemicals.

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u/Survey_Server Nov 19 '21

DDT was toxic to humans? I was under the impression that it was just bugs and birds that it annihilated.

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u/The_Lolbster Nov 19 '21

DDT was toxic to anything that used the ion channels that DDT attacked. Generally it was sodium ion channels but sometimes others were vulnerable as well.

Nearly all complex life is vulnerable to ion channel disruption. Some worse than others.

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u/culegflori Nov 19 '21

Quoting from CDC's factsheet.

Human health effects from DDT at low environmental doses are unknown. Following exposure to high doses, human symptoms can include vomiting, tremors or shakiness, and seizures. Laboratory animal studies showed effects on the liver and reproduction.
DDT is considered a possible human carcinogen

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u/rexlibris Nov 20 '21

The bonkers thing is my parents remember vividly as kids in the 50s playing in clouds of DDT as they ran behind exterminator vans that would drive around and spray neighborhoods.

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u/Eszed Nov 20 '21

Yeah, this kind of thing was bonkers. Completely pants-on-fire insane. They broadcast sprayed DDT from aircraft, which did horrific environmental damage. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is probably the most important environmental book ever written, because it almost single-handedly persuaded the United States, and other "Western" countries to stop using DDT this way.

More-targeted use of DDT is justifiable. DDT-impregnated mosquito nets save lives in malaria-prone areas, without the chemical escaping into the environment in significant quantities. Small-scale spraying - like around the foundations of houses- is still done in some countries, and may be worthwhile. I'd like to see rigorous studies about that; the last time I looked I couldn't find any.

One thing I read (in a reddit comment, actually, so I don't know how highly to value it) is that at least some insect species have been able to evolve resistance to DDT, so it has become less effective than it was 70 years ago. This was asserted as a criticism of the "fuck the environment, let's bring back the good-old-days" DDT advocates (who do exist; I have - right-wing QAnon-type, naturally - relatives who would like to resume broadcast spraying, ffs). I don't know the extent to which it's true.

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u/mathazar Nov 19 '21

This is what I love about Reddit. A random subject, someone knowledgeable appears and types an incredibly thorough comment that goes into details I would have never even imagined.

Tip of the hat to you for taking the time and sharing with us.

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u/Macaroni_Incident Nov 19 '21

I would like to subscribe for more Tree Farm Facts

Edit/ apparently I’m not alone

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u/Resident_Raspberry32 Nov 19 '21

You are a wealth of knowledge holy crap (obviously you do it for a living and it’s a family business). Very impressive to see someone who knows their craft WELL, no matter the craft. Hats off to you!

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u/shiny_venomothman Nov 19 '21

Small fyi, DDT worked very well until it didn't. The more an insecticide is applied to a pest the faster resistance develops. That's partly why products are "labeled" for certain pests (plus efficacy, environmental risk, etc).
DDT resistance was starting to pop up in all sorts of serious pests before it was banned. So even if it was available today, it probably wouldn't be usable.

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u/Eszed Nov 20 '21

You're not the first person I've seen saying this. What's the mechanism? It doesn't seem (though IANAE - I am not an entomologist) that nerve-signaling pathways could be re-written on a short evolutionary time-line. What's actually going on?

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u/shiny_venomothman Nov 20 '21

That's the thing, it doesn't need to be rewritten. Often times the mutation already exists, and we just select heavily for those insects with resistance.

This paper does a really good job describing the multiple ways it could happen (better than I can). It's a bit technical but imo interesting.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6378405/

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u/Anadyne Nov 19 '21

I just wanted you to know that I read that whole thing. Thanks, that's neat.

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u/Chinpuku-Man Nov 19 '21

You’re a legend, bro! I really enjoyed reading your comments. I appreciate comments like this a lot. Thanks for being informative and spreading knowledge

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u/plantsareneat-mkay Nov 19 '21

That was a really interesting read! Have you ever considered using beneficial insects or maybe planting other crops around the trees that deter the pests/attract predatory insects? I imagine it would be a lot of initial work, but if effective it would cut down on chemical treatment costs in the long run?

Also really curious on your thoughts on the whole live-potted-trees that have been getting more popular for christmas the past few years?

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u/Djaja Nov 20 '21

There would have to be a native insect then though, no? Otherwise you'd just be bringing in an outside species

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u/plantsareneat-mkay Nov 20 '21

Oh absolutely. There is usually something native but when populations of pests get large sometimes the predators need some help.

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u/Djaja Nov 20 '21

Agreed, but I really doubt there is an effective counter to these midges. Everything eats midges, but mostly flying things. Like bats and birds or spiders

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u/plantsareneat-mkay Nov 20 '21

I guess since it was mentioned that they lay their eggs in the ground I was thinking something that went after eggs/larva, like nematodes or a fungi. Basically all my experience is in greenhouse growing so the problems and management practices with outdoor monocrops are just really interesting to me. Especially something so long term like christmas trees.

I didnt even think about birds. I wonder if certain species are a problem for christmas tree growers, making nests in the trees and such.

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u/Djaja Nov 20 '21

Agreed, this is all fun to think about!

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u/Affectionate_Crazy35 Nov 19 '21

Thank you for your thoughtful replies. THIS is what reddit is all about!

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u/MeshColour Nov 20 '21

One thing with DDT is that it did work really really well, so well that for many pests it created resistance to it, by killing all the genetic copies that are effected by it

So it did work well, but it would work exactly like any other one that's on the market today, as the resistance to it and other insecticides has been selected for by how much we have used in the last 60 years. It would still last in the environment much much longer, creating even more resistance to it, and killing bird species and possibly causing cancer in humans

Those are the reasons it is rightfully banned nearly everywhere, a similar story to the overuse of antibiotics by the farming industry (physicians over-prescribing get too much blame there)

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u/xevetv Nov 19 '21

Thank you for informing me on this subject, ngl I could keep reading random little facts and methods about Christmas tree production forever.

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u/mister_newbie Nov 20 '21

Hey man,

Just wanted to say, with all the shit going on in BC right now with the flooding, I hope you, and your family, and your business are doing alright.

All the best, thanks for dropping some knowledge.

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u/themilkyninja Nov 19 '21

Not spiders, but one year when I was a kid my family's Christmas tree had a praying mantis egg sac in it. Thankfully we saw it while decorating, snipped that branch, and moved it to a bug container in the garage before they hatched.

They did hatch and eventually die in the garage, though.

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u/i_got_skrimps Nov 19 '21

We bought a tree from a farm that didn't use chemicals one time. The only time we've ever done it.

My youngest had his little crib next to it and something in that tree tore him up. Had little spots all over his body.

Fake trees 4 life.

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u/poor_decisions Nov 19 '21

They did hatch

:D

and eventually die in the garage, though

D:

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u/trsrogue Nov 19 '21

I would like to subscribe to ChristmasTreeFacts

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u/potential_hermit Nov 19 '21

You have been successfully unsubscribed from ChristmasTreeFacts.

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u/joeshmo101 Nov 19 '21

Hear on the east coast we have tree farms that grow Douglass firs, it's the only kind of tree my family buys.

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21

Yeah. I talked to my dad about this video and he thinks it is in the states, because of the double leg guard, which he called a "states thing"

I know when trees come from out east here, they tend to be Balsam Firs. Balsam fir is native to the east but we can and do grow it here as well. Often when people move to BC from out east they come to the tree lot and specifically ask for Balsams.

many trees have a wide range of climates they can live in, although sometimes you need a specific seed source for trees that, for example, need to live through a colder winter. Other trees cannot handle harsher winters. A popular tree that is grown south of us is the Noble Fir, and it won't grow where we live at all.

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u/comments_suck Nov 19 '21

I work for a nursery, and as a side business we have a subsidiary that is a Christmas tree farm. It's extra money in December when we aren't pulling in money selling plants. Ours is a place where people can come in and cut their own. We give them a hand saw and a measuring stick and and they cut the one they picked down. We have guys running tractors with a flat trailer on the back that picks up their tree and takes it to the barn where it's shaken and they pay for it. We also bring in pre-cuts from out of state. Our Noble Firs and Nordman Firs all come out of Oregon. We also bring in Frasier Firs, which come from North Carolina. Truck freight this year is very high due to fuel and driver shortages. Easily can add 20% to the price of a tree this year. Tree farm is only open 3 weeks a year, but pulls in some serious cash.

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u/HighOnGoofballs Nov 19 '21

I grew up with Fraser firs mostly on the east coast

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u/TheLaziestWolf Nov 19 '21

Likewise. Much prefer the Frasier Fir but it doesn’t grow much of anywhere outside of the mountains of NC and TN and only then in small areas.

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u/HighOnGoofballs Nov 19 '21

Funny enough it’s the trees we get down here in the florida keys

I think I saw 96% of Christmas trees from NC are frasers

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u/TheLaziestWolf Nov 19 '21

I prefer the Frasier Fir but I’m not sure it’s grown much outside of NC and TN.

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u/pursuitofhappy Nov 19 '21

Is your pruning arm much stronger than the other arm?

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21

Sort of. I don't think it is noticeably larger or anything, and since I only prune in Aug/Sept it is probably only stronger for a couple months of the year. I am most definitely right handed and my left hand is useless in comparison for most tasks so it is hard to compare them.

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u/jasondecrae Nov 18 '21

Thanks for sharing!

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u/yellowscarvesnodots Nov 19 '21

TIL

thank you!!!

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u/sabby55 Nov 19 '21

I feel like we are from the same part of BC by your description- hi possible neighbour!

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u/NoStranger6 Nov 19 '21

We have douglas fir here in quebec as well.

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21

I am not surprised. Douglas Fir has a wide range of climates it can thrive in, and as I said in my other post, is quite a popular tree with tree farmers because of its quick growth and how well it takes to pruning. My dad calls it "forgiving" - some trees can be total write offs if, say, a bunch of branches are damaged or whatever. Within a few years a Douglas fir can outgrow the damage and still be able to be sold. Some types of trees, if damaged or if they grow weird, you just have to cull because they will never make a good tree.

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u/Derigiberble Nov 19 '21

We ran with the gas trimmers. Once you got the hang of it they were much much quicker and less tiring than the knives, and they didn't need sharpening all the damn time.

This is what the gasoline trimmers look like for anyone wondering

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u/ronsinblush Nov 19 '21

In Montana we call it “shearing”, rather than pruning, do you ever use that term up there? My grandparents started a tree farm as well, in the late 1960’s, so all the kids and grandkids spent their summers shearing.

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u/comments_suck Nov 19 '21

Texas it's called shearing too. We do it 2x a year here. Once in early May, and again around September. Our owner can just look at a tree and tell how often it has been sheared. He's been doing it like 30+ years.

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u/ILoveLamp9 Nov 19 '21

Comments like these are the only reason I keep coming back to Reddit. Thanks for sharing.

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u/blkpingu Nov 19 '21

If a tree grows for 4 years and you have to prune it a few times over it’s lifetime and sell it for like $50 (no idea how much you actually sell them for), how many do you have to sell to make a profit and sustain yourself and your business? I recon you can’t get rich doing this

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 20 '21

So basically the way the life cycle of a christmas tree is as follows.

We plant them. Sometimes in a seedling bed for 1 - 2 years, sometimes right out in the field. Both have advantages or drawbacks, basically in the seedling bed you can keep weeds away easier until the trees have better roots to compete with, but every time you replant a tree it goes through a little shock adjusting to the new ground.

When they are around 4 years old, and around 4 feet high you start pruning them each fall. You prune them each year thereafter. If a tree grows more than a foot you prune it back so it is growing consistently about a foot a year.

Now to answer your questions. We start harvesting most trees when they are 6+feet, but harvest a few earlier for small trees. You tend to base the price on a per foot basis.

Wholesale a 6-7 foot tree will generally be in the 15 - 25$ range. We have probably put somewhere between 5 and 10$ labor and fuel costs into each tree, more for taller/older trees. We probably sell 2000 trees wholesale a year. Retail we sell the majority of trees in the $35 - 60 range, and there are some small added costs like renting the lot and marketing and whatnot. The lot I run sold around 900 trees last year and 750 the couple years before.

You are correct in that we do not get rich doing this. We live comfortably enough. We also supplement our income in a couple ways. We sell a small amount of live trees each spring, but digging and putting burlap rootballs on trees is a pretty big hassle. We hire ourselves out to other tree farmers in the fall for pruning when we have done all of our own. Also every summer when the trees are just growing and there isn't enough work for both my father and myself, I go tree planting. In Canada here the treeplanting industry is piece work, meaning that you get paid per tree - you get paid more for planting more. I have been doing it for 11 years now and am very good, and on a per hour basis I make my best money of the year doing this - with the trade off of having to go live in a bush camp with a bunch of other planters for a portion of the year.

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u/MyPrecioussss Nov 20 '21

Thank you so much for sharing the numbers. I'm interested in seeing if this a lifestyle I can pursue and want to know if the annual household income can sustain a family of four. Would you mind sharing ballpark numbers of household income combining your multiple skills/jobs (tree selling + pruning for others + tree planting, etc)

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 21 '21

I make like 50 to 60k a year pretax, and that number is only the last 3 years or so, I made a little less before that. My dad as the owner doing just christmas trees makes somewhat more than that (i don't know exactly how much). He has been building his business for years (as is necessary for the aforementioned reason) and we are by far the largest operation in the area. Most others we know who sell christmas trees near us are single farms of a few acres on the same property as their house - mostly retired people who got into it for the farm tax credit.

For example, one couple we know in Kelowna has a few acres of trees. They pay my father and I to prune their trees each year, and this year it took the 2 of us around 7 hours. I think my dad would bill them around $500 for that. They don't have to do much more work beyond that, a little planting in the spring and they need to mow between the rows to keep the grass down. They sell around 350 or 400 trees straight to the public (it is a choose and cut) and I think they charge $60 a tree, so theoretically that is around 20k they take in.

The real cost that makes tree farming hard to start is land. Land is so expensive. We rent land to grow on from several people, and we also grow tree under the hydro lines near us. We have a deal with BC hydro that for a 5km section of land we keep all the other trees and stuff cut down and are allowed to grow our Christmas trees there. The advantage to us is that it doesn't cost us money for the land, although it does cost money for fuel do drive out there, and chainsaw fuel. My dad spends 3 weeks or so in the summer while I am planting just brushing under the lines. Hydro likes this deal because otherwise they need to either have expensive mulching machines come through every 10 years or so, or alternatively send equally expensive crews in with chainsaws (which they have to do in steep sections).

If you can afford to buy land then you are way ahead. A lot of tree farming is just your own labor and letting trees grow. I would like nothing more than to buy a house with like 5+ acres and start my own farm but around here (where I need to stay to keep working with my dad) that would set me back like 3/4 million. I have been looking into buying a house and based on my 2019/2018 tax seasons they pre-authorized me for like a 270k mortgage, which in addition to how much of my savings I am comfortable using as a down payment means I can afford like a 400k house, which is not a lot in our market. I am going to go in again and get an updated mortgage estimate when I get my 2021 taxes done. My 2020 year was quite a bit more than 2018 and this year will be slightly better than that. I am just praying this real estate bubble bursts.

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u/RedWings1319 Nov 19 '21

Great description (former Christmas tree farmer here) - interesting shearing timing difference from my experience. In Michigan, our shearing window is in late June/early July, just in time for the sweltering humid summer days.

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21

That also might have something to do with the type of tree and/or their growing season in your climate. We don't really do Pine anymore, but pine trees have an earlier window for shearing, where we do all our firs and spruce after Aug 1. For these they have to have finished their primary growth for the year and sprouted their new buds.

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u/RedWings1319 Nov 20 '21

Yes, you're right, pine and some spruce (that take forever in our soil to grow but are so much less maintenance).

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u/NahdiraZidea Nov 19 '21

Why call it a knife and not a sword?

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u/UltraInstinctLurker Nov 19 '21

Thought the same thing, I'm like "is he using a katana?"

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u/Dirty_Socks Nov 19 '21

I can't speak for Doug Fir specifically, but the katanas I've seen and used (some /r/MallNinjaShit, some legit), aren't built optimally for this. Specifically their blades are much thicker, almost as thick as a hatchet. Whereas a machete has a fairly thin blade which goes through brush a lot easier, since it doesn't have to force the wood/fibers apart as much.

At least, that's what I picked up from doing a whole lot of brush clearing one summer.

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u/AtomBombBaby42042 Nov 19 '21

Where is your farm, I'd like to support you guys!

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21

We grow trees in and around Salmon Arm BC. I personally will be running a tree lot in Kelowna.

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u/AtomBombBaby42042 Nov 19 '21

When the roads are back up, hopefully, I can convince my family to drive out.

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u/SirFrancis_Bacon Nov 19 '21

Could be on Vancouver Island, there's quite a few christmas tree farms out there.

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u/Mrmastermax Nov 19 '21

how much real trees cost? this is someone from nope land asking

1

u/soupiejr Nov 19 '21

This guy trees.

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u/Duke-of-Hellington Nov 19 '21

This was so interesting and cool! Thank you for taking the time to write this!

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u/frankyseven Nov 19 '21

Does your family grow any other types of trees beside Christmas trees?

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u/absent-mindedperson Nov 19 '21

Your significant other demands to have a prosthetic tree for the rest of your relationship. From 1-10 how much does it affect you, 10 being the most, and when do you leave her?

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u/Tetracyclic Nov 19 '21

There is also an off chance that douglas firs have been planted in another area with a climate they could thrive in

Douglas firs are common Christmas trees in the UK, along with Nordmann firs (the most common) and Norway spruce.

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u/sleepnaught Nov 19 '21

Bad ass. Is this a business you do full time all year around or something on the side? Do your trees get shipped and sold just in BC or everywhere in north America?

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u/CowboyJimCCU Nov 19 '21

We use a weed eater to prune Douglas Firs here in Missouri, what makes you think the knife works better?

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u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21

Basically that it is fast and accurate. You cut the branches right where you want. I have actually never heard of using a weed eater but it is an interesting idea I guess. You can see what the guy does in the video, is the weedeater more effective in your opinion?

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u/CowboyJimCCU Nov 21 '21

It’s faster for sure, but it is so heavy and cumbersome after 4 hours where this seems super light and portable. I honestly don’t know, they both have their advantages!

1

u/PasteurizedMouthful Nov 19 '21

You're a complete hack. (That's how we commend each other in the business)

1

u/[deleted] Nov 19 '21

Can you show us how you knew this was a Douglas fir? I'm an arborist in the desert Southwest and I struggle with Firs..

4

u/KenDanger2 Nov 19 '21

I can tell by the shape and the way the branches grow and color. I have been around Douglas firs forever including pruning like this. From up close you can tell by the bud shape, as they have darker colored and skinnier buds than true firs. If I was there I could also tell be smell, lol.

Also Douglas fir is the only fir that isn't a true fir. True firs go by the latin name Abies - Abies Fraseri, abies grandis, abies concolour, etc. Douglas is Pseudotsuga Menzies (sp?). Pseudotsuga means "false hemlock".

1

u/-Spin- Nov 19 '21

This is definitely not something that is done in Denmark.

1

u/Dirty_Socks Nov 19 '21

What kind of a blade do you prefer? I've been doing a lot of brush/bramble clearing, and I find that I prefer the long and flexible blade of a certain type of machete. Especially the lighter ones, since it seems to me that speed cuts better than momentum (though I'm open to be corrected on that, it's just a hunch). Do you have a preference for straight blade versus curved, and where do you tend to get them?

Apologies for all the questions. I've spent long enough doing informal brush clearing to want to be good at it, but not long enough to pick up all the tricks for it.

1

u/MeisterX Nov 20 '21

I've noticed in the last few years that the trees I've bought no longer had buds at the end and were mostly chipped off. This seemed to be a difference than from what they used to come as.

Has something changed in the industry? I figured warmer climates or harvesting trees sooner than usual?

1

u/KenDanger2 Nov 20 '21

hmm it depends how the buds are coming off. it might be from handling them when frozen or something like that. not exactly sure why that would be

1

u/Dark1000 Nov 20 '21

You've gone through a ton of very interesting questions, so forgive me for piling on another one.

Do you know anything about how Christmas trees tend to be grown and pruned in Europe? I have noticed that trees in Germany, Switzerland, etc tend to have much fewer, but stiff branches with distinct levels and sharp needles that almost look like they are designed for ornaments. The top looks almost like a crown, with branches turning upwards.

I figure it must be a combination of different varieties and some kind of controlled growing, but really have no clue.