County Ag Report: Maine’s Christmas Trees

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 11:21 AM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - A few weeks ago, we told you all about growing Christmas trees. In this week’s County Ag Report, Rhian Lowndes explains how Maine’s Christmas trees BRANCH out to the rest of New England

HIGGINS people in Massachusetts and New York also consider Maine a healthy clean and hard working place

Stephen Higgins, owner of Higgins Balsams North, shipped 3,500 trees out this year. He sells mainly to Massachusetts, but he sells some trees in New York as well

HIGGINS I sell to for instance its an educational fund that sells raises money for their local high school, ive sold to them for years, ... I sell to people like that, mostly people who have a retail stand somewhere

Higgins recently picked up a market that sells to chain stores as well, and he says one thing a distributor keeps in mind is the USDA Christmas Trees Grades and Standards. The USDA determines a trees grade by density, health, shape and other characteristics

HIGGINS I find that markets in New York and Massachusetts, retail markets, I’ve had a retail market Northborough ma for 27 years and I find that they will pay a premium price for Maine trees

Higgins buys his trees as two to five year old transplants, and grows them to 6 or 8 feet, although he says there’s a market for 10 to 12 footers as well. The most trees he’s ever grown at once is 20,000 trees, and he says the Maine Christmas Tree Association would consider him a small grower. Growing all those trees is hard work

HIGGINS You gotta be ready to work, you gotta be ready to do the same thing as if your were a farmer, you have to fertilize the trees you have to pray for insects, you have to trim them once a year to make them look like a Christmas tree, you have to spray for weeds, that’s the basics of it, it’s a labor intensive market

Higgins says Christmas tree farms are a year round job.

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