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Thousands of Christmas trees are purchased in Kentucky each year. Although some of these are artificial trees, and a large number are "wild" trees, the majority are cultured trees grown for this purpose on Christmas tree plantations and shipped into Kentucky from other states. The market potential is enormous and profits from an efficient operation are comparable or better than those usually obtained from agricultural field crops. In the Cumberland Valley area alone, over 25,000 households buy a Christmas tree annually. Larger markets exist in nearby urban areas. Growing Christmas trees requires management and labor for planting, weeding, shearing, and harvest. Land on which a farm tractor can be used is required and the landowner must wait five to eight years after planting for harvest of the first crop. Sales methods include retailing, wholesaleing, or a cut- your-own operation. Many people enjoy the type of work required in this enterprise.
A minor enterprise but one not to be overlooked, is sale of nuts, such as walnuts; and greenery, including bittersweet, mistletoe, holly, pine boughs, etc.
Rental or lease of hunting rights, fishing rights, and other recreational use is another possibility. This is most feasible if recreational facilities are developed on the land. These might include lakes, ponds, hunting cabins, vacation homes, fish or wildlife stocking programs, riding trails, picnic tables, camping areas, etc.
In areas with a good farm market, production of posts and poles should be considered. Fence posts may be harvested from naturally growing black locust and red cedar trees. Utility poles may come from natural or planted pine stands. A recently developed and fast growing market at present involves pine and yellow-poplar poles for use in log cabin construction. Several companies are now in business buying poles, cutting to patterns, and selling precut poles as a log house kit.
With the energy crisis, there is a fast growing market for firewood. This can give the enterprising landowner an opportunity to market low quality hardwoods which probably should be removed from the stand and are otherwise unmarketable. There are several other markets for low quality trees. Pulpwood buying yards, in some areas, buy pine and lesser amounts of hardwoods cut to five foot lengths. Pallet mills can utilize lower grade logs than sawmills selling graded lumber. Charcoal plants also buy hardwood timber cut to short lengths.
The imaginative landowner may be able to envision and develop other possibilities for income from his woodland.
Please send comments to: Duane Bristow (email@example.com)