Business Overview

Each year, many people decorate their homes and businesses during the holiday season by putting up Christmas trees. A Christmas tree farm grows and sells evergreens for those who want real trees (as opposed to artificial ones) during this time of year. There are 34.5 million real trees purchased each year, and the industry continues to grow. Craig Wallin of Profitable Plants Digest reports that sales for artificial trees peaked in 2007 and have been declining since then, leaving plenty of room for growth in the real Christmas tree industry.

Who is this business right for?

Anyone who enjoys working outdoors and with their hands might enjoy owning a Christmas tree business. Tree farms don’t require a tremendous amount of work, but most of the work involves tending to, cutting, and delivering trees. All of these tasks involve hands-on labor.

What happens during a typical day at a christmas tree farm?

A Christmas tree farm is a highly seasonal business, so the day-to-day tasks of a business owner vary greatly with the season:

  • Spring is the time for preparing soil and planting trees.
  • Late spring and early summer is the time for trimming trees (which is done once per year).
  • Summers are spent mowing between rows and applying weed control chemicals as necessary.
  • Late fall and early winter are the time to cut and sell trees.

When selling trees during the Christmas season (primarily Thanksgiving to Christmas), business owners often work long days. Because the season for selling trees is so short, as much time as possible is devoted to cutting trees (for precut), helping customers cut their own trees (for u-cut), and bagging and transporting trees.

What is the target market?

Christmas tree farms may sell trees to individuals, wholesalers, or nonprofit organizations, and many farms sell to all three types of customers. Of these three:

  • Individuals will pay the most, but most families and businesses will buy only one tree.
  • Wholesalers might purchase quite a lot of trees, but they frequently pay one-third of their retail price.
  • Nonprofit organizations are often a happy medium, paying above-wholesale prices for several dozen trees that they’ll sell as a fundraiser.

Additionally, Christmas tree farms can sometimes sell one or two large trees at much higher rates than most individuals, wholesalers, or nonprofits will pay. Local governments and a few businesses might be willing to pay several hundred dollars for an especially tall tree. Most farms only have a few (if any) of these sales, but even just one or two sales like this can significantly boost a farm’s annual income.

How does a christmas tree farm make money?

A Christmas tree business makes money by selling Christmas trees. Trees may be sold already cut (precut), or they may be cut down by the individuals who purchased the tree (u-cut).

What is the growth potential for a christmas tree farm?

Most Christmas tree businesses serve a local geographic area. Managing multiple areas in different regions isn’t viable, and transporting fully grown Christmas trees long distances is expensive. Many farms will transport trees to a retail location in a nearby city, but it rarely makes financial sense to ship trees across several states (especially since there are tree farms in all 50 states, including Hawaii).