Planting Christmas trees. How and why

All right putting all the seedlings in My truck i’m taking them to the farm Tomorrow morning To plant my son who goes to college in Salem oregon Uh picked up all these bags and brought Them home In his civic they were in the trunk and Filled up every bit of the seats In his car so in case you’re wondering 2 000 noble fur and norman seedlings can Fit in a honda civic Okay it’s a brisk morning march 3rd We’re going to Try to put two thousand christmas trees In the ground today One thousand nobles one thousand Nordman’s we’ve never done as many Nordman’s as nobles or any other tree Before But they’ve been so popular we’re Picking it up We’re about two hours three hours Actually into planting and we’ve got About 800 nordman’s in the ground So things are going well here’s the Nobles that’ll be going in soon Uh these are a 202 two-year tree Um we weren’t able to get enough of Those so we do have some plugs that are Going in So actually these aren’t a two-o these Are a plug plus one So this is a plug we have 500 nobles

That are going in as just plugs this Year They’re grown in a cell and pulled out And so that actually still has some of The soil that they were planted in In there this is a much smaller tree This is not my preference but Due to the climate they weren’t able to Dig all the trees that we wanted For this year this is the plug plus one So they will take some of these Plant them out in the field and after Another year’s growth This is what you get and this this is What i prefer One thing i would encourage you if You’re planting christmas tree Is be careful on your seed source And get some good seed know where it’s Coming from don’t just say oh it’s a Noble or it’s a dog or whatever it is Get the right seed the first year we Planted we had Trouble locating uh noble fur Seeds seedlings so we were convinced by This one Company oh you really want these these Are have a darker blue color They’re this that and they really sold Us on it and we bought them and they Were beautiful trees but they were Super slow growing and so most of those Trees We did not sell for 12 years too long if

You’re trying to Market the trees sell the trees and then Turn over A crop and get your next ears so that First acre that we planted years ago Was growing we planted o53 seed source Which is a faster growing tree the next Year And we harvested most of the second year Trees Before we harvested the first deer tree So we Learned a lesson there the ideal tree There’s a pacific Northwest christmas tree association That has an elite orchard They’ve taken prime parents and grown Them And then take the seeds off of those That’s what everybody wants and that’s Hard to get your hands on and I haven’t been able to get my hands on It the noble furs that we have now Is silver mountain orchard and what that Is is they did similar things they Took it from the o53 seed zone fast Growing tree They grew trees they selected some of The best they’ve created an orchard That has really high quality trees and Now They’re old enough that they’re getting Seed from those trees and they’re Growing those so

We are happy to have silver mountain Select orchard Trees this year and so we We think we haven’t grown any of these To maturity but we think that this Is going to be a really good seed source For us Typically when planting these trees you Don’t want to let the Sunlight hit the roots you want to keep Them in the bag the bags wrapped Keeping moisture on the roots you don’t Want to have them out in direct sunlight At all We are allowing the crew to lay out a Few trees in front of them At today and then come up and plant dig Step up a plant and dig uh due to the Fact that you know it’s Started out today in the high 30s it’s 40s overcast Actually it’s as bright as it has been All day Right now and have been raining so the Roots aren’t going to dry out but Typically When you’re planting especially nobles That have very sensitive roots You keep it in the bag keep the roots Hidden Pull it out plant the tree then pull the Next one out of the bucket keep the bags Wrapped up Keep them sealed as much as possible

I really don’t like it when you have to Uh Plant a bunch of trees and then come Back the next day and the next day Once you open the bag you want to get Them in the ground as quick as you can And as quick as possible you know you Don’t like working in the rain It’s just drizzling right now but it’s Actually good for the trees If you’ve opened your bag it’s not Sealed anymore to keep the moisture in And you have to end at the end of the Day you you can’t keep planting And you got to preserve your trees uh We’ve done we’ve healed our trees into The ground before And we’ve come back weeks later actually Planted them And they’ve done quite well and what Healing is into the ground is you just Simply dig a ditch i’ve done Most of the ditch already here but you Have a ditch dug And then you just lay the trees into That ditch And then just cover up Cover up the entire ditch like that if You have a hose nearby or access to a Little bit of water Go ahead and just soak that down in but We have successfully had trees even Nobles healed into the Ground two to three weeks is not

What you really want to do but if if you Can’t plant it and you can’t Come back for a while peel it into the Ground and then Usually this dirt is still soft enough That when you get here you can just Start pulling them out And then go plant them back in the Ground you’re not worried about these Standing upright Or anything right now because they’re Not growing uh you just Get their dirt covered or get the roots Covered with moist dirt And keep it out of the sunshine and the Ground is nice and cold And so it’s much better than leaving Them in your garage or somewhere else Where it’s going to be getting warmer Just you know here in february and march Nice Cold soil bury it keep it moist And then pull them out days later even a Week or two later And plant them but i would encourage you Plant as Quickly as you can but if you can’t Plant quickly Heal them into the ground Okay so we were talking about shovels Here’s the shovels that Our crew today is using you can see the Blade Is longer than the roots and that the

Handle and everything is steel and this Is really Reinforced this is significantly Stronger Than the shovel that you’re going to Find down at home depot or Ace hardware this thing is reinforced And can stand up to Multiple days of sticking in the ground And wedging back and forth And long enough That the roots are not going to be Extending down too long So let’s go stick a couple trees in the Ground We go one foot to the south of the Previous stump where the tree was cut Down If we go one foot to the south Consistently we keep our rows straight And our Spacing straight he’s going to stick the Shovel in deep enough that the roots can Go Down in straight it is important that The roots go Point straight down and not curve back Up which is known as jade After he gets the tree in position He’s going to stall the soil around Making sure there’s no air pockets Around the Roots which will dry it out and kill it This tree is actually being planted too

Close to the previous stump If the cut stump has some root rot in it Or another disease It’s too easily transferred another six Inches away Would be nice each of these trees that You’re seeing planted is taking about 20 To 25 seconds Granted i have really nice soil here This section of nordman’s was shopped Extensively last year pretty much every Hole is empty Okay for these plugs which we didn’t Really want to get plugs we wanted Something that’s more established but uh Due to the weather the nurseries haven’t Been able to Dig the last of the trees that we wanted Because they have kind of uh They’re like a popsicle that was frozen Except they have soil in there We didn’t want to smash them flat so we Use the auger to tear up the soil We’re just going to place those down in The hole and then push every The torn up soil back in We do have planting dibbles which is Basically the size of the cell that you Could just slam in the ground Stick it in and then push it back but uh We found that if the soil is not Turned up like in this sod area and Loosened up That that doesn’t take very well so by

Using the auger we get the depth That we want and uh we get the soil Softened It’s like it was tilled up and so these Should be planted Quite well [Music] We found out late that we’re gonna have Access to this section of the field You can see the bare spots where we Sprayed roundup to kill spots to put the Trees in There’s still roots and everything in There using the auger Not only digs the hole but it kind of Tills up the soil and tears up what Roots are left So it creates a good planting soil and a Soft medium For the plugs that we’re putting in So let’s talk spacing of the trees uh The trees we put in today We were more aggressive in the spacing Than we’ve ever been before they’re only Five feet by five feet apart And we’ve never done an acre that close Together before Uh partly because we like to have rows Uh Wide enough to run equipment through and Then work on the trees and wear a u-cut Farm So people can get the trees out so if You

If an acre was perfectly square it would Be about 209 feet by 209 feet And if we do five by five which we just Did here You can get 1700 trees a little over 1700 trees I think it’s 1760 trees per acre going Five by five But uh after we’ve planted these i’m Looking at that and looking at How big they’re going to be and wide They’re going to be when they grow up There’s like that That might not really be as much space As i’d like We will probably shear these slightly Narrower Than the ones that we’ve done in the Past but they’re still going to be nice Trees but Five by five spacing is pretty Aggressive for noble furs and doug firs Five and a half by five and a half you Might say what’s that six inches six Inches makes a big difference Getting up and down the rows and so if We were I got it written down here if we were to Plant uh five and a half feet by five And a half feet Instead of 1764 trees per acre we get 14 44 so A little over 300 trees less But it’s ideal for the trees

And then some people do it six by six Which gets you under 1200 trees per acre I don’t Think you need to have that much space Like i said when we Original planting it did worked out Really well we had six foot rows going North south Not that north-south is any reason why It had to be north-south but Other than that’s the direction we want To drive our equipment And then we did five and a half the Other direction and so it gave Plenty of spacing for u-cut farm and for People to get through So like i said we did five by five today I think that’s a little tight uh Probably next year we’ll expand more to Five and a half by five and a half Now part of the reason sometimes you go Five by five is when you’re measuring it Out it’s easy math five ten fifteen Twenty You may have noticed today obviously That we were planting right in the Middle of a hay field We did spray late last fall the circles The spots we wanted to put the trees in For the growth of the tree it’s probably Best to sterilize the entire ground Till it up make the ground nice and Plant it that way The first few times we planted we did

That The trees grew a little bit better than When we just killed bare spots in the Field but If we’ve decided that if we have grass Growing in between the trees we’re going To have less of the weeds And we’re not spraying tons of chemical On the field so we’ve decided to go that Route Is it better i can’t say that it is I’ve seen christmas tree farms where There’s just bare dirt And christmas trees the trees tend to Grow a little bit better there i think There’s less competition for nutrients And for the moisture In the ground but we have less chemical This way And as because it rains so much in November and december when we’re Harvesting christmas trees and we’re a U-christmas tree farm When people come out and walk up and Down our rows and there’s grass in Between the rows And not just piles of mud they tend to Appreciate that and it’s not super slick So We have made the conscious decision to Try to leave grass in between the rows And do some spot spraying to keep the Weeds down And we do mow the field multiple times

In the spring Just to keep the grass down If you’ve got any value today please hit The like button it does help us out on The algorithm 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 [Music]