There are three distinct methods of growing Christmas trees in Canada.
The Natural Stand: Found primarily in Nova Scotia Christmas tree lots. This method uses conifers that occur naturally in an area.
The Plantation Style: Found from New Brunswick to British Columbia. Growers plant seedlings in straight rows throughout a plantation.
The Stump Culture: Found primarily in the interior of British Columbia. When a tree is harvested, the bottom whorls are left standing on the site and one of the branches will be turned up to become the leader of a new Christmas tree.
The Natural Stand Production
The Natural Stand production is characterized by the the utilization of conifers that occur naturally in an area.• The seeds from mature trees release their cones and seeds naturally.
- Trees are thinned, allowing for adequate spacing so trees may grow to maturity without touching neighboring trees 2 m (5-6 foot) spacing)
- A tree nearing maturity often has a seedling growing at its base to replace it when it will be harvested.
The Plantation Style
Plantations allow for the production of high quality marketable trees in a controlled environment and area. The choice of tree species and varieties to grow on a plantation vary according to:
- Growing Zones, Christmas trees in Canada are grown in the 1B – 6A growing zones.
- Market demand growing and selling the variety of trees that the public demands.
- Soil type and drainage. Some trees like it wet, others dry, some like it acidic, others less so.
The Douglas Fir Stump Culture
- Many Douglas Fir Christmas tree growers successfully utilize a practice known as “stump culture”.
- At harvest the tree is cut so that the stump is left with the bottom whorls or lower branches.
- These branches provide the stump with energy, allowing the tree to continue thriving.
- After several years, the best branch will be chosen to become the leader of the next tree.
- Stump culture reduces the time to harvest for a Douglas fir by approximately three years.
- Stump culture may be used in plantations and natural regeneration stands.
- Some stumps cultured in this way have produced a tree every five years for the last sixty years.