Producing Christmas tree seedlings. Seed to 2 years.

We finally got some glorious low Elevation snow here in the pacific Northwest Uh yesterday we were at the lewis river Reforestation To watch them pull seedlings out of the Ground and be bagged and shipped For christmas trees and while we were Waiting For the temperature to get above Freezing we talked about The process of going from seeds to Planting the ground and growing the Seedlings Here in the northwest and then if that’s What today’s video is about if you want To see the video about Actually pulling them out of the ground Begging them and shipping them you can Find that video Right here All right i’m uh really happy today you Guys know i’m a christmas tree farmer And i’ve been Going out and visiting a couple other Farms and This is a farm that’s directly related To christmas tree farming This is bruce summers he runs lewis River reforestation And they’re lifting noble fur trees Actually for a christmas tree fawn today And we’re going to go through the Process

So thank you bruce for having us out You’re welcome So first of all how many acres is your Farm Uh 52 total acres and uh Can you remind me how many trees total You We ship just over four and a half Million trees Per year of course it’s a two year Tree so there’s about Well there’s nine million on the farm All together Okay um when you say it’s a two-year Tree Have they been in the ground here two Years or are they two years old so Some of them have it’s that’s a little Complicated but For the most part most of the crop about 95 Of it is a 1-1 which we start from a Seed And we grow it for one year we dig it up Spread them out transplant them grown For a second here And then this is the second year tree Behind me so You grow them from seed here or do you Get them from another nursery so we grow From seed here Out in the field or in a greenhouse yep Right out in the field We’re so right about it uh last week of

May first week of june is when we put Seed in the field Well you’re gonna see the noble fur uh Actually is growing in the greenhouse And we get a one-year tree from the Greenhouse and we transplant that for The second year And that’s what you’ll see when we go Out there so in our industry that’d be a 1-1 Correct correct yes Okay uh you um My horticulture class about the process Of Covering the field with tarp and Communicating with the other one how can You just briefly Do that again explain that again so once All the trees are lifted out which the Entire farm gets lifted every year Uh we will come out and we do tarp Fumigation that sterilizes the soil Removes all of any uh root disease Or bugs or anything like that basically Sterilizes soil back and that’s where we Start from And we’ll put the seed in that and we’ll Also put the transplants that go Right in fresh fumigated soil So how long are those tarps on the Ground 14 days 14 days yep okay and then you pull it up And you start planting Yep we will put uh we pulled up with the

Irrigation is removable So all the pipes come out of the field And then we pull the plastic up we put The pipes back out we form Our rays we grow in a raised bed just Like Any other several other crops get grown In raised beds And plant them and let them grow another Year Okay so after you’ve pulled the One-year-olds and you’re replanting them How far apart Are these trees they get spread out to About well they go from you know As a 1-0 in the field they’re typically 110 to 120 trees per Bed foot and then we spread them out to We get down to 28 to 30 trees per bed Foot Okay um you mentioned Before that uh before you start pulling There has to be a certain number of days Below a certain temperature is that Correct doug several studies were done By a warehouse or back in the 70s on Trees and the best time to transplant And all that And they reach their maximum dormancy Stage which Is when you want to transplant anything When it’s least nor Least active for the least amount of Stress and they

Found that when a doug fir tree has Reached 400 hours below 42 degrees Temperature cumulative then That puts them in their most dormant State excellent And so then you bag them up and store Them bare root in the bags What temperature is your freezer or your Cooler uh we keep the cooler about 34 to 36 degrees that’s just enough Above freezing but Cool enough to keep you know fungus and Pathogens from wanting to grow Inside the bag so most of After your trees are pulled about about What time of year Most of your trees pulled and when do Most people put them back in the ground Right now we uh we’re right in the Middle of our harvest season in fact We’re about 60 percent completed with our harvest Right now Okay and when are most people going to Take delivery And plant them they uh The timber companies that we grow for Pretty much everybody is running Planting crews right now they’re Uh they’re out planting they’re trying To get they want to get stuff in while Their trees are dormant in the winter But before the spring rains come To get them you know watered in okay so

You’re we’re digging christmas trees Today i’m a christmas tree farmer i Usually Like to plant mine around around President’s day Do you have any idea when the farm that You’re digging for today plans to They actually they will wait until Because these are christmas trees and They’re going in fields They got to wait till the fields dry and They can get out and get the fields Prepped so These trees will actually go into the Freezer next week And holiday tree farms is the one we’re Going for they will freeze them And then they’ll thaw them out and start Planting probably April late march early april Sorry so uh for our seed Before we plant it we have to stratify It first um And that entails it goes we take the Seed and actually put it in a plastic Sack and fill it up with water And let it soak for 48 hours in water at That time we drain the Excess water out and put their stay in The cooler at 34 degrees Uh douglas fir we stratify for 50 to 60 days uh the noble first seed That we have done in the past Actually only has a 21 day strat and

Interesting If noble fur actually the germination Rates go down If you stratify it more than 21 days Kind of weird There’s a magic number there what Percentage of seed do you figure you get To grow Uh we hope for Boy i’d have to do some math but we Plant 1.6 seeds for every tree that we Plan to ship That includes what we lose for Germination What uh we dice At transplant in between the first and Second year and then what does it make Grade At the end of the second year okay so How many different uh varieties of trees We only grow actually Four different types of trees like i Said 95 percent of it is Douglas fir for reforestation timber Production type applications uh There’s some cedar and hemlock that is Grown for that also and then we grow Noble fur for christmas trees You mentioned that you’re digging for a Christmas tree Mentioned specifically which form it was Earlier so You have a specific contract We do we carry contracts with with each

Individual customer and this is uh It’s contracted with holiday tree farms Um they’re A really big christmas tree producer They’re based in corvallis oregon I believe they’re one of the top five Christmas tree producers in the country I’m aware of them so how many trees We do this year we’re doing uh 400 000 for them we’re doing 200 000 noble Fur and 200 000 Uh douglas fir so with your connection With them were you able to get Seeds from the elite orchard or you know Seeds uh we We get the seed is actually provided by The customer They everybody Either is a has their own seed orchard Or is a member of a seed orchard co-op That does selective parenting to produce Their seeds We have a really sandy loam and of Course that’s uh That’s ideal for growing trees because Of our harvest season is right now in The winter time So the quicker the soil dries out and You can lift during the tree dormancy The better Unfortunately because of semi loam our Organic matter Typically runs around one and a half Percent one to one

And a half percent which is pretty low Of course so we try to do as many soil Amendments as we can to keep that up So on the some of the fields that we Have empty right now we have uh We’ve sewn winter rye on them and That’ll get maybe two or three inches Tall and that’ll just get tilled right Back into the soil This field right here actually sat Over the summer empty and we put Some compost on it we put some biosolids On it And then we grew a uh a peas and oats And peas of course is a nice nitrogen Grabber And oats grow really fast to get a lot Of organic matter and that just gets Tilled right back into the soil And then we put the put the trees on it In august Okay so after you’ve planted the trees You need to water And fertilize what’s that process look Like So we uh we use a nitrogen fertilizer And a calcium-based fertilizer And irrigation to keep the trees Actively growing a lot more than they Normally would The two-year-old tree here behind me That would typically Be in the nature probably a five to six Year old tree

Because so we’re we are pushing their Growing season out And making them grow more than they’re Used to With water and fertilizer so i don’t Know the case here but maybe When i grow a noble fur out in the field And i’m not watering it It goes dormant late july Just something like that and i found if There’s a lot more water coming in or if I have one around my garden i get water After it sets out it’ll open a second Time does this just continue growing All year long just try to set buds late In the summer and then open up again We try to get uh from the one year old We try to get two good flushes out of it Which is basically You know two years worth of growth in That second year And of course it’s more growth than it Normally would get because it’s getting A lot more water and a lot more Fertilizer So we can pretty much double their size In that second year So they do set cards yes and then we use At the end of the To help them set bud we also use a Potassium-based fertilizer That has been found in doug for to help Promote uh bud set and we all will uh At that point we will apply that

Fertilizer and we will soil wrench And break this route to soil contact up And that will help also Force them into their dormancy This will be next year’s uh christmas Trees right here We don’t have quite as many next year as We do this year These are the ones we get from the Greenhouse that come in a plug that we Plant for one more year They come in the fall and they stay the Next Little extra over one year but uh And these these this little patch here Will be the only trees left On the farm once we’re done harvesting And they’ll stay here for another full Year That’s uh some douglas fir plugs those Are also christmas trees but douglas for Christmas trees And for doug fur they like the uh The christmas tree variety as a Vancouver island seed source Hope you enjoyed our trip to lewis river Reforestation Uh please consider subscribing right Here to the flanigan homestead where Christmas trees are my business My job is teaching including Horticulture and homestead projects Including farming gardening and outdoor Projects are my passion

Here we got to see 52 acre farm produce 9 million trees ship four and a half Million a year

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