Christmas Trees, Foliage, and Pine resin (pitch)

Christmas trees

We grow two main kinds of Christmas trees: Noble Fir and Douglas-fir.  Noble Fir have lovely dark greeny-blue needles, great needle retention after cutting (needles stay on the tree a long time), good conifer aroma, and a very slightly asymmetrical shape.  Douglas-fir has lighter green needles, great conifer odour, overall branch density less than Noble fir, and is less expensive.  Current prices (2024) are $60 for Noble fir and $30 for Douglas-fir. We usually have a few Charlie Brown Christmas trees we can sell for $20 – 25.  We also sell Grand Fir Christmas Trees, popular for their citrus-like smell.

Noble fir, and the two species mentioned just below, grow pretty slowly and are only ready for harvest at around 8 years old. On the other hand, because they grow slowly they are easy to prune. This year (2024) we are going to grow some new Christmas tree species such as Fraser fir, Concolor fir.

Stump Culture

One thing we’ve been recently trying out with our Christmas Trees is ‘Stump Culture’. Simply put, when we cut the tree, we leave a few live branches at the base of the tree, from which the following year a ‘leader’ will start growing which will become a new tree on the living stump.  We actually haven’t harvested any new trees by this method yet, but it looks promising, with a few trees now a couple years old. Most people like this idea because the tree lives on after the Christmas season.

Seasonal Foliage

We also sell seasonal foliage to wreath and swag and decoration makers.  These include Western White Pine boughs – long, slender, flexible, blue-green needles with great smell – and other things like red huckleberry, evergreen blueberry, salal, hemlock and cedar branches, pussy willows and other items from our woodlot.

Ponderosa pine products: Needles and Pitch

We have ponderosa pine growing on the property which has great needles for making small baskets. These trees grew from seed I collected in the Merritt (B.C.) area while working up there one year.

We also collect pine resin (pitch) from the trees which we sell to people for various crafts.  The resin is collected from the tree near branches and where insects have made small holes and the resin oozes out (naturally).  The tree is not damaged in anyway, in fact sometimes by collecting the resin certain nefarious bark beetles will be disturbed.  Pitch is fun to collect because it smells so good, and it is fun climbing the trees to get it. The pitch is sold as a raw product – no processing to remove small debris, or sold as a processed product – small wood or bark debris removed.

It is usually sold by the ounce or pound.  2$ per ounce for the raw product, 4$ per ounce for processed.

Various uses and products made with Pine Resin (Pitch):

  • Candles
  • Soap
  • Rubs
  • Salves and balms (pitch is anti-microbial)
  • Firestarter
  • Waterproofing objects
  • Pine sap lamps
  • Pitch tattoos:  apply some pitch to a body part in desired shape, and then apply a bit of garden soil (so the surface of the  pitch is no longer sticky), then brush off excess soil. Tattoo will last several days.