Christmas Trees

Michigan Christmas Tree Industry Research Priorities

Submitted by:
Michigan Christmas Tree Association
Marsha Gray, Executive Director/Editor
P.O. Box 377
Howell, Mich. 48844-0377
Phone: (800) 589-TREE; Fax: (517) 545-4501
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)



  • Eliminate or minimize precocious cone production in Fraser fir.
  • Develop better nutritional management guidelines: enhancing tree growth and quality, economic feasibility and environmental protection.
  • Identify reliable seed sources of true firs, with an emphasis on Fraser, Concolor, Nordmann and Turkish.
  • Develop a low-input (organic) production system.


Financial impact - during drought years, growers have reported losing as much as 85 percent of seedlings planted. There is the direct cost of replanting those seedlings in addition to the loss recognized in the harvest year when the available crop is reduced.

  • Focus on water requirements and the timing of application for optimum tree growth.
  • Economics of various systems.
  • Impacts of diseases from irrigation.
  • Impacts of water regulations.

Pest Management

Financial impact - poor pest control means losses of seedlings, additional time needed to get the trees to harvest, reduced tree quality and selling price.

  • Weeds.
  • Continue to evaluate new herbicide and weed management options.
  • Herbicide resistance management.
  • Weed management, with an emphasis on woody perennials.


  • Fungal pathogen.
  • New technology for pesticide application.
  • Potential pesticide lost due to FQPA and pesticide alternatives.


  • Quarantines issues.
  • Control recommendations, alternatives and monitoring thresholds.
  • Potential pesticide lost due to FQPA and pesticide alternatives.
  • New technology for pesticide application.

Harvest and Marketing

  • Planting and grower survey to look at the financial impacts of Christmas tree production, costs, rates of return, etc.
  • New value added products.
  • Packaging for customer convenience.
  • Harvest systems for needle retention.


Additional research attempting to determine what factors contribute to increased occurrence of bud abortion/winter bud kill.

Last Updated: November 2012


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