Tricia Braid

Dec 23, 2016  |  Today's News

We’re just a couple days away from Christmas and given that, everyone here at IL Corn would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! As a farmer, have you ever wondered what it would take to grow your own Christmas tree? How about growing that tree from seed? Well, some folks in Canada have some great information if you’d like to try growing a tree for a future Christmas. Keep reading to learn more!

Cheer in the long term: growing a Christmas tree from seed
Distributed through Canada Press and www.leereich.com/blog
By Lee Reich for the Associated Press

Even during this holiday season, with winter upon us, you might find some gardening to do. Growing a Christmas tree from seed, for example.

That's no short-term proposition. But the long wait is offset by the wide selection of trees from which to choose, their negligible cost and — best of all — the satisfaction you get from growing your own tree. You're sure to eye your own, seed-grown Christmas tree with more affection than you've ever felt toward a tree loaded onto the roof of your car from a sales lot.

Aside from patience, all you need to get started are a plastic bag, a pen, a couple of handfuls of potting soil and the seeds.

It's late in the season, but you could collect seed yourself if you know of some nice-looking, mature trees of species suitable for decorating and keeping through the holidays indoors. The most popular trees for this purpose include Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris), white pine (Pinus strobus), Norway spruce (Picea abies), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), balsam fir (Abies balsamea) and white fir (Abies concolour).

Then again, your choices need not be limited to those popular species. Maybe your taste runs toward a tree with the long, languid needles of a Himalayan pine (Pinus Wallichiana) or the stubby, bluish needles of a Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens).

Most conifers ripen their seeds in late summer or early fall, the cones' scales spreading to disperse their seeds in the weeks or months that follow. If you lay hands on some intact, mature cones, put them in a paper or burlap bag so their seeds won't be lost when the cones open, a process that can be speeded up by keeping them warm or even heating them a bit.

The other option, of course, is to buy the seeds. For small quantities, go to J. L. Hudson (Star Route 2, Box 337, La Honda, CA 94020, www.jlhudsonseeds.net) or Tree Seeds (www.treeseeds.com); larger amounts can be purchased from such sources as Sheffield's Seed Co. (315-497-1058, www.sheffields.com) and F. W. Schumacher (www.treeshrubseeds.com ).