From atop an orchard ladder I survey the fields of Christmas trees on a sunny California day. It's early June and the green trees shine against a backdrop of rusty brown chaparal and clear blue sky. A summer of triple digit SoCal heat is quickly approaching and this 75 degree weather won't be around for much longer. I soak in the beautiful moment before getting back to work trimming tops. There's much to be done!
Planting on the farms is finished until the Fall or early next year. As a member of the California Christmas Tree Association, I preorder seedlings with them each year ahead of time to have available for next years planting. Our crew have planted nearly 7,000 trees in the past two years and counting!
The previous owner and my tree farming mentor, Don Cameron (Don Pine Tree) used the method of interplanting to combat tree diseases and I've continued the same way of growing by planting different species throughout the farm based on where they grow best. The soil can vary drastically within each section so we've learned which species to plant in certain areas.
I've also spent some time this Spring setting up a nursery to grow my own seedlings (and veggies). These babies will transition from a grow tent to a nursery at the farm and then be planted in the fields when ready. Exciting stuff!
I have some gorgeous looking Stone Pine seedlings that I'm preparing to plant next year. Stone Pines have not been planted in at least 5 years. There are only a handful left so I'm thrilled to grow them and introduce them back into the landscape. They are slower growers, but do well where other trees have issues and produce a very full Christmas tree. I plan on starting with 200-300 of them for 2022.
Another new species I'll be introducing is the Deodar Cedar! There are some marvelous local specimens of these trees along Lynn Rd in Thousand Oaks and many more throughout Los Angeles.
2020 SEASON RECAP
Last season was nothing short of a roller coaster ride. The highs and lows encapsulated by that nervous feeling of uncertainty. Not knowing if we'd be selling trees or closing business for good. The overwhelming support meant everything. Thankful for the best crew anyone could ask for. I'm so grateful we made it through. Prayers go out for the families of the ones we lost. The sun shines for you all.
There were some bright spots amidst the chaos. The introduction of our online ordering was very successful. Being the first to offer this and first year of doing so, there were a couple of issues that'll be fixed for this upcoming season. One was being able to block out dates while still being able to preorder trees (software limitation). They have updated the software so we are now able to block out deliveries and take preorders. Another was inventory issues with trees selling quickly. We have solved this by keeping the trees available for online ordering separate so inventory can be managed properly. Keep an eye out for more improvements this year!! (50th Anniversary Celebration...)
Keep it Real,
Jeff Pine Tree