Christmas tree farming: Effects of record heat. Massive seedling die off. What are we going to do?

Hello rob here from flanagan homestead i Just got on my pickup where i got out to The tree farm it is july 14th we’re Going to start christmas tree shearing Today and uh i wanted to give you an Update on the heat you know as many of You following the channel know we had Record highs a couple days of 115 116 Here which is 40 degrees warmer than it’s supposed to Be since then we’ve calmed down to Normal Summer temperatures here today’s high is Supposed to be 78 degrees For the next 10 days the forecast is Highs in the low High 70s and low 80s which is more Typical of this area So this would normally be a good summer For all these new planted trees to Survive but It was almost tragic what happened uh in That really short Hot spell so i’m going to show some of What happened during that heat wave and We’ll Just go take a look at the trees Here is one thing that we’re pleasantly Surprised about now i know there’s a Dead tree right here in front of us But out here in front of us this is Last year’s trees there and we thought That these would be completely Devastated but you see a lot of green

Out here This is where we’re really sad over here Every single tree that we planted this Year bare root Is dead so we have 1600 Bare root trees that went in the ground This year and We don’t see one that we think is going To make it But you could see the dividing line Right here We’ve got new plantings this year all Dead Last year’s planting up on this row And you can see that not only is there Hope for them They look good and you come up to a tree Like this It’s even got enough moisture in it that It’s trying to put out a new growth Right here uh second a secondary growth For this year So again we’ve got over here new Planting All 1600 dead Last year’s planting looks like they’re Going to struggle But they’re going to make it and they’ll Go next year so we’re pleased to see How much of last year’s planting we Planted 3 500 trees Last year so we’re hoping that most of Those will still be around For the future

Again here’s last year’s i mean this Year’s trees Not gonna make it actually there’s a Tiny bit of green On these but i don’t think There’s much hope for any of these so You might say i thought you planted 2 000 trees this year and you talked About 1600 dying 1600 bare root plantings are all dead I’m out in the section now Where there’s a where we put some plugs And they’re doing poorly But i would say we have a chance For some of these these are the ones That i tried to come in water because There’s a little bit of a basin That could hold water so Of the 400 plugs We may be if we’re lucky We might get a 50 survival rate out of These so out of 2000 trees This year we’re hoping To keep 200. Right now i’m back in my office trying To get the editing of the video done And uh yeah so Obviously losing 2 000 trees is Significant You know i plan to retire from teaching In seven years These trees were going to be ready in About seven years those two thousand Trees

Were going to be worth you know Approximately Well if they’re all matured about 160 Thousand dollars Obviously it’s not 160 000 loss because They’re first-year trees And they’re not worth that much the Estimated value of a First year planted tree is seven dollars So it’s Well it’s about a fourteen thousand Dollar loss um But uh it hurts But if you saw my other videos before You can’t be a farmer if you quit any First time it gets hard now if The pattern continues you know you have To reconsider but i think That this extreme heat that broke Records not by a little bit but by a lot Uh hopefully it’s not going to happen Again and we’re looking at ways And we think the bare roots uh plantings In the future are going to excuse me the Plug planting in the future Is probably going to have a higher Survival rate So we’re going to pursue that and we’re Going to forage forward And as you saw the 3 500 trees that we Planted last year most of them are still In good shape so we’ve got Some trees that we’re going to take to Market there so

Things going to work So the effect of the heat on the older Trees If you look at it from the north west Side where It’s not as much sun it you can see Damage but it doesn’t look Terrible So if you look at the trees from the North east side Which obviously the sun does not is on The south And the sun rises in the east so it’s The morning sun the trees do not look Terrible over here there’s definitely Damage but they don’t look Terrible if you’re looking at it from The northeast side If you turn around and look at the trees From the Southwest where the afternoon sun hits It You get a lot more damage apparent If you look closely and inspect it back Here Is last year’s growth and the needles From last year Have are more waxy and Can protect themselves and hold their Moisture but This is from here out is this year’s Growth And so the needles here were not as waxy And

Could and the fresher needles could not Hold their moisture so that’s where most Of the sunburn Action is so again We’ve got last year’s growth mostly Green This year’s growth coming out and Getting Sunburned tips so it’ll be interesting To see if all this brown falls out Uh if we’ll have enough needles we’re Probably going to shear a little tighter This year And uh hope we get a good tree We may have to wait a year i’m pretty Confident If the weather does not get really bad This year And hot again this summer that these Trees will survive And we might just have to shear out a Lot of this and then Harvest them next year Here’s a mature tree that’s out in front Of my house You can see that we’re getting sunburned Needles On the southeast side of these trees as Well it’s not just the christmas trees It will be interesting to see if the Christmas trees and these trees drop all Their needles that are dead and Off before christmas season and what’s Left is green if you look on our sport

Court Our driveway right in front of the house You’ll see tons of needles which is not Normal this time of year Comparing tree types we’re in the nobles Right now Again i’m filming from the north so it Doesn’t look Too terrible bad there but the nobles Did reasonably well with the heat So i’m showing you all these trees Pre-shearing so we’re not taking off any Of the damage yet and they don’t have Their shape so don’t judge them there But we’ve been raving if you’ve been Following my channel we’ve been raving About nordman furs And they’re our most popular tree now i Don’t have very many left to show you Because they’ve been so popular But i am recording these from the south East side the side that is Uh most damaged on the nobles and the Grands And these are showing significantly less Damage So uh another reason To make us more enthused about the Nordman firs And we will continue to plant a higher And higher percentage of nordman’s Throughout the years and the nobles are Still king around here But i don’t know how much longer on this

Farm i think the nordman are going to Take over And finally our last stop in comparison The types of trees we’re now standing in The grand furs The grand first have finer needles and Finer branches And you might be able to see i am Recording from the southeast side again The side that was most sun and they Just couldn’t couldn’t handle the heat Much less so than the nobles and the Nordman’s This is probably the most dramatic Visual i can give you Uh here we go southeast side of the tree [Applause] Northwest side of the tree it’s Damaged on all sides but there’s a whole Lot of green here still And this is just flat Burned up i’m going to shear a lot of This off and see if we can find Any green back in there So just like we showed you on the nobles Uh the grand fir this is All first year growth out here You go back into the last year’s growth And there’s a lot of greens still in There A lot of green this branch started Growing out from here this year And the entire branch is Burned up this is last year’s growing

Well This is where it butted out from this Year all burn up Last year’s growth still there so It’ll be interesting if i cut back in Hopefully there’s enough buds back in Here for this Tree to spread next year and uh Obviously we’re not selling this tree This year but i honestly believe We’re going to get this thing back in Shape And next year it’s going to sell for 70 70 dollars [Applause] Okay i’m gonna go try to shear The brown out of this tree i’m gonna cut Out all of this year’s growth that’s on The south West side where the sun really burned it And i’m going to really tighten this Down a lot now you need to be careful When you cut back into the second year’s Growth because then It doesn’t want to grow it doesn’t have Buds so let me show you something about This this darker green right here is Part what was here last fall last year All this lighter green here is the new Stuff If you look closely there was a Well there’s buds on the end of every Branch On the tips of every branch there’s buds

That are going to continue to grow out Now you can see that this one besides Where it grew out on the very end There was other buds that grew out here And spread help fill the tree in If i go back to last year’s growth Though Looking at it now there will be no more Buds Back here so if i cut back here there’s No more buds so The tree will be green it’ll have a good Shape but there’s There’s not gonna be many buds and it Won’t grow Uh normally so so here’s a little tiny Bud here There’s another one here so this tree Was gonna have multiple branches grow Out here One here one here and one here and next Year there was going to be no growth Out here so when you cut back when you Cut way back Sometimes the tree sits there for a year And it’s not growing And and then because it doesn’t have That outward growth because there’s no Buds it will actually set new buds On the ends of these eventually and then The following year It will grow so when you cut way back Into a tree Which is sometimes necessary just

Realize The next year it’s going to look kind of Odd because the very few buds are left There they’re going to shoot out And there’s going to be but then the Rest of the tree is just going to Try to sit there and then the following Year there will be new buds And it’ll start to fill out again so Uh when you cut back into second year Growth You’re you’re basically creating usually Creating a two-year process To getting it back into harvestable so I’m gonna go Tighten this tree down a lot see if i Could take out all the Brown and see what happens the dangerous Part about doing that on this tall of a Tree Is you know i need to make sure i really Shorten the leader too Because i can’t let the leader keep Going up it’s already over 10 feet tall And if i let the leader have another Foot another foot it’s going to be 12 Feet tall and super skinny So i’m going to tighten it widthwise And i’m going to cut that leader short So that there’s only like one bud on it Down to where there’s only one bud so It’s not gaining a lot of height either Because i want to keep it proportional [Music]

So [Applause] [Applause] Doesn’t look so drastic anymore does it Thanks for joining me on the flanigan Homestead where christmas trees are my Business Teaching including horticulture is my Job and outdoor projects are my passion And we hope that We never have a heat wave like this Again and hopefully we have Cool wet summers nobody else likes cool Wet summers but i do And christmas trees will grow better Hope to see you again soon

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