Canadian Forest Service Publications

Growing balsam fir Christmas trees in field and forest. 1987. Estabrooks, G.F. Revised March 1988. Canadian Forestry Service, Maritimes, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Information Report M-X-164. 23 p.

Year: 1987

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 7787

Language: English / French

Series: Information Report (AFC - Fredericton)

Availability: PDF (download)

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High quality balsam fir Christmas trees produced in natural forest sites and in field planations are the result of several years of nurtuing. This report discusses stand dvelopment, site preparation, planting, tending, and cutluring procedures. Trees in natural stands must have adequate space, available nutrients, and protection for growth and development. Thinning (spacing) is necessary throughout the rotation on natural sites with abundant stocking; where stocking is sparse, fill planting supplements natural regeneration. Fertilizers increase foliage production thus enhancing tree quality and shortening rotations. Control of insects, diseases, and competition from other vegetation, which often threaten the viability of a Christmas tree operation, require vigilance and the correct use of pesticides and good cultural practices. Establishment of a field plantation requires site preparation, suitable stock, and proper planting. Seedlings for outplanting may be nursery grown bareroot or container stock, or wilding transplants. Mowing and the judicious use of herbicides throughout the rotation protect the plantation trees from competition. Fertilizer may be of little importance during the first two years after outplanting, but when established, balsam fir usually responds to additions of fertilizer, especially nitrogen. A shearing-pruning program should begin at outplanting to correct defects, such as double tops. When the crown is about 1.3-1.8 m (4-6 ft) in height, overall shearing to promote foliage build-up and tree symmetry should commence. Trees should then be sheared each year till harvested.