What are the economics of a Christmas tree farm?

By | December 12, 2016

Today, a coworker of mine told me they bought a Christmas tree for $50. That discussion made me wonder how much money there really was in Christmas trees. Like, how are farms making enough money to stay in business and how are the people that sell them making enough money?

I know that there’s always a demand every year for Christmas trees, but I just don’t see how profitable it could really be.

A Christmas tree wholesales for about $20. My coworker bought it for $50. (They said that some trees were going for as high as $100.) That’s $30 per tree for just setting them up in a parking lot. So, clearly, there’s money to be made in retailing Christmas trees.

A single acre can produce 1,500 Christmas trees. At $20 each, that’s $30,000 per acre. It takes eight years to produce that tree. So that’s $3,750 per acre per year. In order to make a minimum wage of $10 an hour, you would have to restrict yourself to 375 hours per year per 1500 trees.

In this thread, they state than an experienced tree planter can plant a tree in under a minute. Assuming a more conservative estimate of ten minutes per tree, that’s 250 hours in the first year, and assume that each year, you spend about ten minutes maintaining and pruning the tree, that’s another 250 hours per year. So, essentially, this works out to about $15 an hour in labor. That’s a back of the envelope estimate, of course, and a more experienced grower could definitely get their wage up to $20-25 hours pretty easily but it is a living.

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