What's New in Christmas Tree Production?

January 30, 2019 - February 27, 2019


Contact: Heidi Lindberg at wollaege@msu.edu or 616-994-4701, Jill O'Donnell at odonne10@msu.edu or (231) 779-9480, or Bert Cregg at cregg@msu.edu or 517-353-0335.


What’s new in Christmas tree production? is a five-week webinar series that will feature current Christmas tree research projects from leading researchers.  The series will highlight tree selection, cone reduction, nutrient/soil health, and pest management.  

The webinar programs will be live from 12:30 to 2 p.m. EST every Wednesday starting Jan. 30 through Feb. 27, 2019. Participants will have the option to tune in to the live webinar or stream the recording on-demand afterwards. There is no charge for the webinar series but those interested do need to register. The program topics and speakers are as follows:


January 30         Effective Nitrogen Use
                           Presenter: Bert Cregg, MSU

Application of commercial fertilizer is an essential part of plantation management for many Christmas tree producers in Michigan. Dr. Cregg will discuss the results of several nitrogen trials that have looked at nitrogen sources as well as timing of applications. 


February 6        Quarantine Pest Issues - Elongated hemlock scale and spotted lanternfly
                          Presenter: Jill Sidebottom, NCSU 

This webinar will cover two invasive species that can affect product shipping and quarantines. Elongated hemlock scale can be a serious pest problem for fir, spruce, and hemlock. Feeding injury causes needles to yellow and drop prematurely, which reduces tree quality. Spotted lantern fly is a new pest and even though conifers are not a host, this insect has the potential to impact tree sales and shipment. Dr. Sidebottom will review the history, life cycle, management options for these pests and potential issues when moving trees. 


February 13      Evaluating the performance of Turkish and Trojan Fir (CoFirGE) 
                          Presenters: John Frampton, NCSU Bert Cregg, MSU, Chal Landgren, OSU, Rick Bates, PSU, Richard Cowles, CAES, and Gary Chastagner, WSU 

Turkish and Trojan firs are emerging nationally as new and popular alternatives to traditional regional species due to their disease and insect resistance, popularity in the marketplace, and ideal growth habits. Researchers from six universities have been cooperating on a project to evaluate the performance of Turkish and Trojan Fir in different growing regions in the United States. This session will share results from the different regions along with keepability studies. 


February 20      Reducing coning in Fraser fir 
                          Presenters: Dana Ellison and Bert Cregg, MSU and Jeff Owen, NCSU

Cones on Fraser fir are a major liability in Christmas tree production. They reduce the aesthetic value of trees and utilize internal resources that could have been used for additional vegetative growth. This session will provide a look at possible options for reducing coning in Fraser fir.


February 27     Choosing Cover Crops                          
                          Presenters: Christina Curell and Dean Bass, MSU Extension 

Cover crops have many purposes, including building organic matter, improving soil structure, reducing erosion, increasing soil biota activity, suppressing weeds, and providing habitats for beneficial insects. The MSU Soil Health team will review current cover crop trial data and look at options for Christmas tree growers. 

Projects supported by:

  • Christmas Tree Promotion Board
  • Project GREEEN (Michigan) 
  • Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association
  • Michigan Christmas Tree Association
  • Michigan Seedling Growers Association
  • North Carolina Christmas Tree Association
  • Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association
  • Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association


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Tags: bert cregg, chal landgren, christmas tree, christmas tree farm, gary chastagner, john frampton, michigan state university, msu, msu extension

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