Cissell Christmas tree farm New Christmas Tree Farm located in Central Kentucky. UCut and Greenhouse Container Seedlings and Plugs. Canaan Fir & Turkish Fir, Meyer Spruce After Vacation came home and our Rows were covered up. Lots of Water and Fertilizer is good for trees. But it’s also good for everything else growing in Rows. Podcast available in Anchor and ITunes Podcast.
June Podcast / Newsletter 2021
Meetings and Events —
MACT Summer Show
Dull’s Tree Farm
July 23 – 24, 2021
Michigan Christmas Tree Association —MCTA Summer Meeting scheduled for July 28-30, 2021 at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, MI
Farm tours include: Montague Tree Farms and KP Trees
The National Meeting or NCTA will Be in North Carolina Combined with the North Carolina Summer Meeting. Wreath and Bow COntest. Location: Shatley Farms, Jefferson NC — https://ncchristmastrees.com/
FALL MEETING /////
Kentucky Fall Meeting
September 25, 2021
Barker’s Tree Farm and Nieman’s Tree Farm
$20.00 / person (includes lunch)
9:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Tasks Currently Doing on My farm—Finished Spraying—MOWING —-
– I need to Do a better Job on my Grid Rows.
–Seedling Sources and Results So Far (On my Farm)
–We ordered Several Different Varieties and Used Several Different Nurseries. Ordering several Varieties from A few places just top get an Idea of What there stock looks like and Compares to others, and How it fairs in our Ground (So FAR)
— TN Wholesale Should be Blacklisted by everyone
— Larger Stock available in the Pacific Northwest Nurseries than Midwest and Easterly.
— Container Grown Is more Expensive, But seems to “ start” a better product. We will Order and PLant Mostly Container Grown Stock This coming Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 From the 2 PLaces we Consider the best results so Far. On my Farm Bare Root appears to have varying degree(s) of Transplant Shock…The stuff we planted last year Is just now starting to Green up and Look Good…Where the Container stuff looked good throughout, and we lost Very few.
So far Lost about 26 out of 600 Bare root seedlings…only lost 3 Container Grown out of 400… Lost 4 due to me mowing them down—– ( refer to row spacing/
–Seed Source is the Wild west for several Species.. Getting the same Species From several PLaces shows a big difference in appearance.
— Cover Crops Coming Up
Buckwheat with Eqyprin WHeat is about a foot tall, coming up nicely…Have several bare Spots that I need to flag…will Need More topsoil / compost there…too much subsoil for new Crop to germinate. ( doubt tree’s will be very vigerour there next year otherwise.
Will be taking Soil Samples at the end of July….again to see if improvements made… on our 20-21 and 21-22 Fields—and Take new samples for the Field we will plant in 2022-23 Seasons. WE are sending SAmples to our Local CoOP.
Hope Everyone Has a Good Growing and Mowing Season. WIll follow up near End Of Summer.
January Podcast 2021
#2 Species selection & Soil Amendments
Soil Sampling Can be done here in Kentucky at the County Extension office for the University of Kentucky.
- shovel or Probe
- Ph and Fertility
- Understanding PH
- Specifically soil requirements for your species
- For each planting block we took about 12 Cores. Which are the little dirt samples produced by the Probe. We used 2 buckets. And put the top 4 inches in bucket 1A and the next 4inches in 1B. And did this at 12 locations throughout the planting block
Species selection & Soil Amendments
- After understanding our specific soil type and it’s Native PH and Fertility and drainage per Tree Block we decided
- We want to plant one type of Fir. One type of Pine and one type of Spruce on each 1 acre block. Plan it to be 70% Fir.
- On our First Block the soil sample was 7.1 ph from 0-4 inches and 6.8 at 4-8 inches in depth.
- Our soil contains calcium Carbonate here as a lot of Limestone in the ground. 88% Base saturation.
- Based on these items. We knew that Canaan Fir was really our only possible Fir tree we could grow. But significant soil amendments would be needed.
- Working with out county Cooperative Extension for the University of Kentucky. We knew we needed to get out PH to 6.0 and no higher than 6.5
- Elemental sulfur. Our Canaan block called for 2lbs per 100square ft. Which is a lot. And woks out to be just under 1000lbs per acre. Which luckily we knew before we planted. Becuase it would be impossible to amend that much after planting. As it needs to be incorporated into the soil.
- We also needed about 80 lbs per acre of N, P, and K. And we mixed it in with each broadcast load equally.
- We wanted to make sure we incorporate this in the soil and have Atleast 6 months before planting. Preferably a year. Which we will have for future fields
- For our Pine source again due to soil ph we choose a more Tolerant species which is The Virginia Pine for Us. We are considering Austrian Pine test for next year as well.
- For our spruce source he landed on BlackHills Spruce which is a bit more favorable Spruce as it will hold needles a lot better than Norway’s. But it grows a lot slower. For this reason it is planted in next years planting block. As it will need a year head start.
Higher levels of Calcium Carbonate in our soil means the ph amendments are temporary. For our Canaan Fir Sections we will have to apply a annual Maintenance amount of elemental sulfur. We will also be using ammonium Sulfate as our Nitrogen fertilizer as it also helps keep PH down. Which we will start applying the following Spring and Fall around the dripline. Annual Soil tests will be required for the Canaan Blocks. As well as Petal – Foleure samples tested to see if it’s working. If tissue is Low in magnesium or Boron we know the PH isn’t low enough.
Field Selection and setup
- Want each field approximately 1 acre
- Trees planted 8 ft rows and 7 ft apart
- 5 ft Bushhog- Rotary cutter
- Might reduce to 6 ft between trees and keep 8 for rows.
- 20ft breaks around outside of entire farm for path. As well as a 20ft break down the middle of entire farm for travel and loading. We plan to gravel it about 150ft per year so we are ahead of customers. Don’t need it fully complete for 7-10 years as that’s how long it would be before anyone besides us drives back there
- Row setup
- Subsoiler down each planting row to improve drainage
- Used 8” auger for digging holes. Will switch to 6” auger this year. If hole was heavy clay or has shined walls. The person planting the tree will scratch up the side walls some to help. This is not really a problem with our soil. Ours is only about medium clay in some areas mostly a Loam.
- Considering adding an ounce of elemental sulfur in hole at time of planting. At bottom of hole. With dirt over it. Roots not directly touching.
Welcome to Cissell’s Christmas Tree Farm. We are a New Christmas tree farm in Springfield Kentucky. Christmas is a very special time and only lasts for a short amount of time. I have put together a little guide to help everyone in Kentucky select a great Christmas tree.
I have included tips on how to pick one, the different types of real Christmas trees available, tips for measuring, and help you make sure it lasts the Holiday season.
How to Pick a Christmas Tree in Kentucky
It’s no secret, the only way to ensure you get the freshest and healthiest tree is to go to a Christmas Tree Farm and get your tree. A Christmas tree farm grows and sells trees specifically to retain needles and last through the Christmas season.
Avoid Big Box Stores where Most Christmas trees are cut about 3 to 4 weeks before they arrive on the lot—usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, according to National Christmas Tree Association.
Some Christmas Tree Farms will also bring in “Pre Cut” tree’s to supplement their inventory or to bring in some species they know customers want but cant grow on their farm. This is a far better Choice than buying form a Big box store. These Farm “Pre Cut” trees are usually less than 1 week old and in most cases on black Friday shipping only 3-5 days old. These Farms will either go cut these tree’s from there other properties or buy these from larger farms who wholesale tree’s. They will bring them to their farm and Place in Water Tubs so they maintain freshness. (Have you ever see a Tree in water at a Box Box Store?)
Once you are at the Farm Picking the right tree is like buying fruit, you need to see it, touch it, and smell it.
- Test the branches. Clamp down your hand on a limb and gently comb your hands on it pulls toward yourself. If you end up with a handful of needles that tree is past it prime, It will be dead in less than a week loosing most of it needles in 7-10 days. (Avoid tree’s like these)
- Crush the needles in a hand. The smell should be bold and fresh. If there is very little smell this tree is not very fresh. It as well has less than 2 week before surface needles start to fall out.)
- Bounce the tree on the ground. If the exterior (Green) needles fall off, it’s sure sign of a bad apple. Needles that fall off from the interior of the tree (Brown) are normal. All Conifer tree’s have brown interior needles near the trunk that will fall out
- Diameter of Trunk Make a sure the tree’s trunk will fit in your tree stand. Cutting or trimming the trunk by cutting away the outer bark will strip the tree of its cambium layer, which is what absorbs water. If this happens your tree will die at a much faster rate, typically 7 days. it will even stop taking water.
5 Types of Christmas Trees in Central Kentucky
1. Canaan Fir
Canaan Fir are native to higher mountains within Virginia and West Virginia. Canaan Firs are a very beautiful tree essentially a cross between a Douglas Fir and Fraser Fir, sometimes leading to confusion. Canaan Firs vary in color from a light green to a dark green based on a variety of factors including moisture content, sunlight, and soil type. They have moderately strong branches and short, very soft needles approximately 0.5 to 1 inch.
Why Pick a Canaan Fir Christmas Tree:
- Shape: A thin, spire-like top (perfect for a star or an angel) sets this pyramid-shaped tree apart.
- Needles: Short, long-lasting dark needles are 0.5 to 1 inches long and tend to be flat or blunt at the tip.
- Scent: Its Mild evergreen scent can easily fill a room.
- Trimmings: Dense limbs can hold weighty ornaments and larger globe or C-bulb lights.
2. Fraser Fir
Fraser fir. “It’s sort of a cousin to the balsam fir—very attractive needles, bluish silver underside found on the branches of this species. Frasers also have good needle retention. A Fraser’s needles are typically 3/4 of an inch long with a shiny dark green top and silvery bottom.
Why Pick a Fraser Fir Christmas Tree:
- Shape: The branches turn slightly upward, giving it a full, compact appearance.
- Needles: Short dark green needles have a silvery underside and are ½ to 1 inch long; resists shedding.
- Scent: Its fresh, mild fragrance is subtler than the balsam’s.
- Trimmings: Thick branches will hold most decorations; it’s easy to reach interior branches, so cords are less visible.
3. Nordmann Fir
Nordman fir is a European favorite that was recently introduced into the U.S. market and has become increasingly popular. This tree boasts a deep, rich color, dense foliage with rounded needles, and a pleasantly light fragrance.
Why Pick a Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree:
- Shape: The branches and foliage of the give the appearance of a very full, vibrant
- Needles: The needles are especially unique as they appear as a glossy dark green on the upper side, but reveal a silvery underside.
- Scent:is a hit with consumers with allergies given the light fragrance.
- Trimmings: Thick branches will hold most decorations; Very durable, able to hold up heavy ornaments
4. Black Hills Spruce
The Black Hill Spruce is my favorite spruce. BHS have needles that are shorter and softer than Colorado blue spruce. Black hills spruce have excellent color and have a very traditional Christmas tree appearance. Branches are stiff and hold up well to ornaments.
Why Pick a Black Hills Spruce Christmas Tree:
- Shape: Symmetrical, Dense and conical in shape
- Needles: Needles are stiff but not sharp unlike the Colorado Spruce. 1/2-3/4 inches in length
- Scent: Light aroma, Does not share same smell like White Spruce.
- Trimmings: Holds most ornaments; stiff branch that is great for holding heavy ornaments.
5. Virginia Pine
Virginia pine, with its straight trunk and a classic pine scent. However, Virginia pine, has a lot of pitch, the natural resin that makes the branches and trunk sticky. The classic pine scent of the Virginia makes it a popular choice inside the house, and they respond well to trimming making them a good choice for landscape.
6. White Pine
White pine Grows well in Most area’s. One of the most popular Christmas trees, and with soft needles could be safer around small children.
Why Pick a White Pine Christmas Tree:
- Shape: Elegantly conical; needles are grouped in clusters, so you’ll see more trunk.
- Needles: Long, flexible needles (2½ to 5 inches long) are gentle enough for delicate skin.
- Scent: Minimal fragrance makes it a good choice for sensitive noses.
- Trimmings: More of a tinsel-and-lights tree; soft needles can cause ornaments to slip.
Christmas Tree Care
Now that you have picked your Christmas tree (Hopefully from a Kentucky Christmas tree Farm) Its time to ensure it stays Fresh and very much alive through decorations and for weeks to come.
1. Measure your Space before going to the farm
Before heading to the farm, ensure you measure the height of the ceiling where your tree will go. Remember to to leave 12-18 inches for the tree stand and the Top ornament to fit. Also measure the space the tree fil fit. some tree’s are a lot wider than others make sure you have room from front of tree to the wall. You don’t want to have to smash one end to make it fit.
2. Get a Fresh Cut Christmas Tree
If you get cut your own tree at a Local Kentucky Christmas tree Farm you are way ahead of everyone else. But if you Bought a precut at the farm you are still doing really well. When you get the tree home you will need to cut the bottom 1/2 inch off. This Fresh Cut can be made with any saw you have handy. This fresh cut is crucial in the survivability of your tree for the entire holiday season. The new Cut will allow the tree to drink all the water it needs to stay fresh. The end of a tree “Seals” itself up after about 60 minutes. without a cut will not drink water like it should if at all. A fresh cut tree will drink up to a gallon of water per day, some larger trees will drink 2 gallons. This will reduce after first week.
3. Wrap Up Your Christmas Tree Properly
Before laoding your tree onto your vehicle it is very important you wrap it up properly and Put it on the roof in the correct position. Always secure to roof with trunk facing forward. If the farm has a shaker have it shaked to get rid of all those dead interior needles. If not shaker just bounce on the ground several time to get rid of them. wrap the tree from bottom to top pushing up branches to secure it without causing damage.
4. Put Christmas Tree in a Stand
There are alot of Real Christmas tree stands out there. The Tree Genie XXL Christmas Tree Stand is by far my favorite. It is big enough to hold alot of water, it is really easy to place your tree in the stand and just pump the handle to tighten it in. I promise the extra cost will save you a lot of time and frustrations. No matte what stand you get make sure it holds at least 1 gallon of water. this XXL one here hold 2.
5. Add A Lot of Clean Water
Add a lot of water and keep the tree topped up. the first 72 hours your tree may drink a gallon of water per day!. Do not let the water level drop below the bottom of the tree trunk of it will develop pitch and will seal itself and stop soaking up water. If you do you will need to take it out of your stand and cut another 1/2″ off. Of you run the risk of your tree dying prematurely and loosing much more needles.
6. Dispose of Your Tree Responsibly
Once the holidays are over, its time to get rid of your Christmas tree. You can Bring this tree to Cissell Christmas tree farm in Springfield, KY. We will take any Christmas tree that is dropped off, as we will recycle this tree. We will also give you $5 Coupon off your Purchase next year. Just leave your tree by our Old Black Bard (Looks like its about to fall down) If you don’t choose to recycle with us please find a place to recycle. Merry Christmas!
Thanks for Stopping in to check out our resource. We are starting a new Christmas tree farm here in Springfield Kentucky. Our goal is to build this guide as we go. We Had some existing knowledge about tree farms, but we are leaning ALOT as it pertains to Christmas tree Farms. This Guide is a Work in Progress. This page will eventually House all the links to all of the pages and Resources for Prospective or New Christmas tree Famers. Please Come back to check on the Progress.
For questions Idea’s and Contribution please email firstname.lastname@example.org —–A Co-Author is Welcome, please let me know!
At a High level There will be chapters covering:
1. General Pro’s and Cons for Those considering.
2. Land Requirements and Site Selection,
3. Farm layout,
4. Soil Preparation and Amendments,
5. Cover Crops,
6. Species Selection,
7. Seedling and Transplants Stock
8. Field Prep For Planting,
10. Field Maintenance and upkeep
11. Harvest Planning
12. Small Business marketing considerations
13. Sales and Sales Site Prep
15. Recommended Reading and Valuable Resources.
7. Seedling and Transplants Stock
If you are Starting a New Christmas Tree Farm the below offer seedlings and Transplant offerings. I was Sent a List From a Local Tree Farm, Which I have only really added a couple entries ( Feedback welcome) But I believe it original List was compiled by Woods Tree Farm in Virginia.
15. Recommended Reading and Valuable Resources.
We Have Started a Podcast, It will feature an Episode for each of our Guide’s New Christmas Tree Farmers Sections.
Reasons to Buy a Real Christmas Tree in Kentucky
All the Reasons You need!
Buying from Kentucky Christmas Tree Farms Supports your Local Community and American Businesses, Most artificial trees in the US (about 85% of them) come from China. On the other hand, buying a real Christmas tree supporters American tree farms and as a result American families. Please Buy a Real Christmas Tree
New Family Tradition
Every year right after Thanksgiving, my family and I head out to pick the “Perfect Tree”. That is definitely one of our main traditions. Our needs have changed over the years. We used to need a 6 Ft, then it was a 7ft, Now we are looking for 9Ft tree’s. The kids have the responsibility of finding it, and We cut it down Together. We get it home and We spend the whole afternoon Decorating it.
They Smell Good
There is no replacement for the smell of a fresh Cut tree. If you have ever cut your our Christmas tree then you know what I’m saying. The scent of the perfect tree just fills your home and is the prefect signal for all that the Christmas season has begun. You definitely cant get that in aisle 12 of you local big box.
A lot of Children have never visited a farm or know how trees are grown or harvested. then they won’t know where It is the Same as eating Farm Fresh Vegetables and Fruits. How is a Child suppose to know the difference if they have never seen the real thing. Buy a real; fresh Christmas tree one time and it’s something that your entire family will want to do year after year!
Farm Fresh Christmas trees last way longer than there Big Box store cousins. A real Tree you might buy at parking lot of a Store was cut weeks ahead of time. Only a Tree Farm has the Fresh Trees.