Summer Newsletter 2021

June Podcast / Newsletter 2021

Meetings and Events —

MACT Summer Show  
 Dull’s Tree Farm  
Thorntown, Indiana
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 —


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.   

Soil Sample

  • shovel or Probe
  • Depth
  • 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
  • Tilling
  • 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.