Christmas tree Farming, Which planting technique worked best this year. bare root, plugs, auger?

Hello rob here from the flanigan Homestead uh it’s may 25th I’m doing a checkup on the how the Planting of our christmas trees went This year I’ve got my camera tucked inside the Truck because the wind is blowing and Messing with the audio but hopefully it Comes through all right so if you find Anything that you like Any value here please hit like maybe Consider subscribing but i’ll continue To cover My christmas tree farm so anyway In the section of field that you see Behind me most of it was wiped out last Year Uh we had tons of sales we have way more Customers and we have trees right now And so uh we had to do a lot of Replanting we are a small christmas tree Farm but in the last two years we’ve Planted 5000 More christmas trees a few of those were Grands last year This year they were all nobles and Nordman’s we did a thousand nobles and a Thousand ordmans this year Uh we did 3 000 trees last year so this Is kind of an update on how things went In case you don’t know here in western Washington we had a drought in april we Had a very wet winter it rained Over 60 inches from october to

February we put our trees in the ground And it just Stopped raining and it was like no you Know every Everybody’s like oh the weather’s so Nice out here we’re swimming in april We had a week of 85 plus degree weather No rain for almost a month which april Is normally really wet And everybody’s running around going oh This weather’s so great it has a Christmas tree farmer And we don’t typically irrigate out here In western washington i’m just like [Music] You know bring on the rain and so there Was probably a six or seven week period Where we had one or two days of rain and Was barely any And so i was really concerned but Fortunately i don’t think most of my Trees had really Uh broke out of dormancy completely yet So As i’ve looked it hasn’t damaged it as Much as i thought it might we’re going To cover that Look at the trees but you know uh My dog furs i have only a small section Of dug furs you could basically throw Them on the ground kick dirt over Them and they’ll grow i mean i Exaggerate but they’re They’ll grow so easy in anything but

Nobles are Very sensitive to transplanting that First year and There’s usually a pretty high percentage That die off well maybe as much as 20 percent just anyway and so When we had this heat i was like oh man It’s going to be disastrous you know we Even had A burn ban put on in western washington State In april for a while there um I had a small forest fire up near my Place for the second time in a couple Years and we even had the helicopters Flying overhead scooping water out of The river and putting out the fire but You know i wasn’t too nervous because Even though it had been that hot this Time of year things don’t really take Off Around here but since then Last week and the last couple days we Had Measurable rainfall things puddling up Water getting into the ground And so our ground that was completely Dry uh For a while there in mid-may it seems Like it now has moisture in it again And so some of the trees are looking Pretty good We’re gonna go take a look at us some of Them aren’t doing uh that good but

So if you follow our channel you know That we had a huge harvest the last Couple years And you could see that a big section of Our field At least this section has really been Picked through and we’re starting with Young trees again Uh on this side we have a few decent Sized nobles but we’re really low on our Inventory right now So here we go on this section of Nordman’s They’re slow starters as well These are several year old trees to Transplant They’re even slower in the nurseries You get nursery stock of nordman’s And they could be two years old and four Inches tall Some of these are probably Four-year-old trees i believe three or Four-year-old trees From seed to here so Not taking off too much not thriving but They have a chance This is a second year old row of nobles We got some nobles and a thousand or so Of them Had a little bit of yellowing and the Tree The nursery that we buy our trees from And which i trust them and they’re good People

Notice the yellowing and they did all Kinds of tests and said the nutrient Level was good And do we want them and we went ahead And bought them And they survived last year kind of Yellow they look like they’re getting a Little bit better color this year But they are not thriving as much Whatever was causing the yellow wing has Not been completely conquered And they’re just not thriving Like a tree this age should And there’s been twice In our career we’ve Pushed our luck on getting a seed source Or some nursery stock that let’s see That was yellow That wasn’t quite exactly what we wanted But because we really wanted to get Trees in the ground We bought them look at all the yellowing On these still they’re alive But they’re yelling and my advice to Myself And you is if you’re not going to get a Good seed source And a good seedling don’t put in the Ground Just wait another year because if this Thing Is one thing for these to be struggling Right now But this is year two or three of

Struggling And if i keep waiting for these while They’re struggling for three or four or Five years before i figure out These aren’t going to make a good treat I have wasted a lot of time Okay so wait till you get a good seed Source Wait till you get a tree that you know Is going to be good now this section That’s some nice color that’s some nice Color That’s some nice color looking good Looking good would like some more growth But Good good color for new growth So hopefully it’s picking up the Nitrogen and whatever it was low on And they’re going to take off Now here’s a section of trees that i’m Really pleased with out here in the Hayfield where the trees are basically Struggling We sprayed spots to kill them Last fall and then we planted in here And we put plugs in And uh the plugs are smaller but Instead of just using the dibble and Which is The size the shape of a plug and he has A A foot peg to step on you put it in There and you step on it and you pull The plugs out like a popsicle and you

Just stick it in the hole And then put the dirt around there Um normally you do it that way but we Decided That we were going to get an auger and To turn up this ground because there was A little Even though we killed the ground there Was a little bit of Root ball and whatnot and we wanted to Till it up so we Took a six inch auger dug a hole put the Trees in there And uh i’ll tell you what uh we it took Longer to plant them But i’m gonna take you up and down these Rows right now Of plugs that we actually put the auger In the ground and turn it up loose And tried to plant the trees so it’s Actually slightly lower Than the soil level so if there’s any Water drainage it’ll go in there And the roots will be down there lower But I’m really happy with the color of these Plugs that we actually Did not use a dibble but we used an Auger a six inch auger Drilled a hole put these in So here there’s the plugs but like i Said nobles usually struggle A lot in the first year and just look at These tree after tree

With beautiful color and i’m we’re Talking about In a year where there was a drought in April here In western washington i mentioned Earlier Burn bans on forest fires In april 80 plus degrees people going Swimming and there’s one tree that has a Little bit of brown but other than that These plugs with an auger To loosen up the soil i Have never i don’t think ever had This percentage of trees looking this Good I mean it’s just tree after tree that Looks magnificent Praise god this one has a little bit of Brown on it Actually that one’s not even a plug That’s in 2-0 row So here we go back to the plugs a little Bit of brown But uh just beautiful looking trees if They can Hold on like this i think I’m buying plugs and using the auger i Know it’s more work And they’re a little bit smaller But i’ll do an update later in the year Summer to see how these are doing But honestly this is magnificent there’s A light colored one that’s struggling But these plugs planted with an auger

I am honestly thrilled with what i see And then we get back to the two o’s That were planted with a spade Just not worth it so We only spent 600 in labor to plant all These trees this year which is a cost Saving because we had that professional Crew come in And i don’t think they rushed it i i Followed them and they did a good job Planting but these two o’s Planted with a spade just aren’t even Close To what the Plugs with the auger now the plugs with An auger Will take uh probably instead of six Hundred dollars labor we’ll probably put Fifteen hundred dollars to labor to get Those planted But uh do i want thousands of trees to Survive Or half as many to survive and pay the Cost In the long run if things continue the Way they look now I’m i’m paying an extra thousand dollars A year In labor to get Trees that have this color Just awesome Another interesting side note this Section of trees there’s about 150 trees Left out here

These trees were set up for failure we Planted the other stuff we did not have This is out in the hayfield we did not Kill the grass we did not do anything to Prepare it we ran Out of spaces to plant and so we just Had 150 bags left In the bag they were left there for a Few days which is not good for the trees I just grabbed my son sent him out here And said Use the auger dig a hole out in the Pasture and put trees in the ground and Hopefully some of them survive And the ones that were in prepared Ground with the spade Look a lot worse than these so i have to Pull back the grass so you can see it Because we didn’t kill any ground here But the auger tilled up the ground Enough that when we put this tree in and I told them to plant them a little bit Low So they can keep getting moisture but Here’s a row of these Straight consecutive that the color is Significantly better Than the prepared ground this one’s a Little bit brown But uh and these trees were absolutely Set up for failure Just augering a hole out in the hayfield With no other preparation But they’re they’re competing with the

Grass For moisture maybe they’re getting a Little shade and the when it got hot But uh they’re looking actually Significantly better than the prepared Ground And the spade planting so This auger may be getting a lot of use Next spring Uh trying to plant out here We had 400 maybe 500 i’ll have to go Look at the stats again Of plugs because we couldn’t get uh it Was so wet because i mentioned In the winter it was so wet when they Wanted to do their digging They couldn’t dig it up and when we Wanted to do our planting they said We’re not ready yet but we do have some Plugs so we Took uh of our nobles 500 were Two o’s uh seedlings and uh 500 or 400 of them were plugs if We haven’t had great success with the Plugs in the past so this year Where we were putting the plugs we Actually used an auger To basically till up the soil and break Up anything was there We stuck it back in there and then threw The dirt back in so it was actually Really easy planting to put it back in There Using the auger took a little bit more

Time but As we go through and we look at the Field the trees That we use that came from plugs and we Used the auger And i told the planters let’s get this a Little bit lower than Normal levels so that is down there and Getting good moisture in the soil By far the best section of the trees is As far as how they look Now when we get to the end of the summer When they’ve got past their growing Stage and they hit dormancy And they go dormant in you know in August And or late august and early september And you know they start getting woody And then they make it through that Dormant stage to the Rainy stage if they’re still looking Green and everything i think this is the Route that we’re probably going to go In the future if if the percentages look This good For those in the future we just have to Do it Um will it you know Can i plant 2 000 trees with only 600 Labor If i’m using the auger uh no But if i’m going to get this percentage Of trees healthy and growing it’s worth It because

Every time a tree dies you waste a year In that spot And you don’t want to be struggling Waiting waiting winning you want to get The trees in the ground You want to get them growing plus i’m 53 Years old and i want to retire from my Teaching job At 60 and it takes about seven years to Grow a noble So i need these suckers growing now

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