Christmas Tree Care Calendar


  • Confirm seedling delivery date.
  • Complete machinery maintenance and repairs
  • Basal prune trees that are three years old. Four reasons to do this: a) To create a handle for the tree stand when harvested; b) To make it easier to manage weeds and/or apply herbicide without contacting foliage; c) To increase air flow in the plantation which reduces the incidence of fungal infections; d) Basal-pruned trees are easier for customers to cut with a saw.
  • Basal pruning in winter is preferable to spring or summer as it reduces the potential for insects or diseases to have a portal to the tree.


  • Spray dormant oil (no precipitation or frost for at least one day afterwards) 
  • Adjust pH based on a soil test. (Coastal areas tend to be acidic, requiring lime)


  • Soil preparation and seed a low growing grass seed prior to planting for weed control
  • Line out field and prepare for planting once seedlings have thawed thoroughly
  • A grid of 6’ x 5’ enables the planting of approximately 1400 seedlings per acre
  • Straight rows are essential to allow for mowing and herbicide applications with a narrow tractor or mower
  • Plant the same species in each block as species mature at different rates and may require different care
  • There are slow-release tea bag fertilizers formulated for seedlings available from Industry Suppliers
  • Ensure sufficient depth for bareroot seedlings so as not to allow j-root to occur


  • Order seedlings from seedling supplier for delivery next year. Generally, 1000 or more garners the best price
  • Fertilize established plantations after soil testing to determine what nutrients are lacking.
  • Weed plantation or apply a recommended herbicide and be careful not to contact foliage.
  • Apply Altus insecticide if you see signs of BWA in your plantation (especially in Subalpine fir and Fraser fir). 
  • Altus has recently been approved by Agriculture Canada (2020)


  • Monitor new growth on trees for fungal infections, rusts or insects such as aphids and midges.
  • Apply Daconil on Douglas fir (to prevent needle cast in the fall/winter) and on Noble fir (to protect against interior needle blight) and repeat application in two to three weeks.
  • The active ingredient in Daconil is chlorothalonil. Incidentally, since Daconil is a fungicide, it is also effective in controlling toadstools and mushrooms that infest lawns. It is licensed for this purpose as well.
  • Weed control or mow inter-row
  • Remove any cones forming on your conifers, especially on Fraser fir. It is easily done at this stage and it prevents an unsightly mess that shows up in the fall.


  • Monitor trees for diseases, including aphids & mites (you’ll need a magnifying glass for this last one)
  • Second application of Daconil on Douglas and Noble.
  • Second application of fertilizer (slow release)
  • Eliminate alternating hosts for rusts (esp. bracken fern and cottonwood)


  • Weed control or mow inter-row
  • Monitor tree health and insects and treat accordingly
  • Irrigate generally every 2nd day or as required but not in the heat of the day. Do not over water.
  • Flag trees containing wasp nests which are generally located in the ground and alert workers.
  • Late July – begin shearing trees. (Note: some growers advocate waiting until September to leader-prune; others don’t)


  • Continue with shearing
  • Monitor trees for drought stress and irrigate if necessary
  • Attend the BCCTA Field Day and Conference


  • Still a good month to shear
  • Fall is a good time to take a soil sample for testing
  • Firm up any wholesale tree sales or purchases
  • Late September or early October is a good time to apply glyphosate to knock back competing grasses and especially a good time to combat blackberry vines growing in your trees


  • Winterize machinery, especially anything with pumps and drain irrigation lines
  • Remove any physical hazards in your field before the public arrives ie: sharp machinery, holes, etc.


  • Set up retail lot
  • Cull out diseased trees, especially trees infected with BWA. Burn culls or remove from growing site. (Note: Some growers leave the culled Fraser fir with BWA on the ground for 2 weeks so that the insects die inside the tree before being moved. In any case, don’t drag or allow culls to contact unaffected trees)


  • Sales and hospitality
  • Enjoy some family time