Tree Foundation of Kern

Christmas Tree Farmer

To grow Christmas trees for sale.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 30 million trees are sold every year, creating 100,000 employment opportunities. Who does all the work? What does it take to be a Christmas tree farmer?

Being a successful Christmas tree farmer, requires a lot of learning and knowledge of the crops you are planting. Twice a year the trees are shaped and trimmed to maintain their beauty and Christmas tree appearance. " They don't get their shapes naturally," says Floyd Clendenen, owner of Clendenen's Christmas Tree Farm, in Lamont, California. Floyd starts with small trees from local tree-growers, and then plants them on his four acre tree farm. After three to four years of trimming and pruning, the trees are ready for sale.

Floyd sells different varieties including Monterey Pine, Afghan Pine, Scottish Pine, and cedar. Each species requires special care in order to stay healthy. Floyd got into the Christmas tree business over 30 years ago, when he used to have to drive over 40 miles to get a tree. Since he already farmed other crops, he decided he would open his own Christmas tree farm. The unique aspect to Floyd's farm is that for a small price, families can meander through pine-scented rows under cool, crisp December skies and chop down their own tree.

However, this year will be the last year for Clendenen's Christmas Tree's Farm, after three decades of growing trees, he is turning in his plow. When asked what he will miss most about his work Clendenen said, " I am a farmer by nature. I love being out with the trees and public, so I am going to miss getting out on my little tractor and riding through the rows and rows of trees the most."

Christmas tree farming requires no special licences or education, but a person has to be self-motivated and hard-working. It is also necessary to know how to farm the crops you will be handling, and to have good business and public relations skills.

The initial investment of the trees is expensive, because it takes three to four years to grow the first crop. After the start up you can make $30,000 to $100,000 depending on how many acres you have, and what they sell for.