How Much Does It Cost to Start a Christmas Tree Farm?

There are various expenses to consider when starting a Christmas tree farm, such as land, equipment, labor, and marketing costs. In this article, we'll break down what you can expect to spend, so you can prepare for your financial commitment as a Christmas tree farm owner.

The startup cost for a small Christmas tree farm is between $2,750 and $8,200, while a medium-sized setup can range from $14,000 to $64,000. For a large Christmas tree farm, it can range between $64,000 and $262,000. These costs include land, seedlings, equipment, supplies, labor, fertilizers, pesticides, and more.

These costs are only estimates and can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the farm. We’ll learn more about these cost factors as you continue reading below.

Knowing how much it will cost you to start a Christmas tree farm is vital in your journey to create a profitable Christmas tree business from scratch.


  • The cost of starting a small-scale Christmas tree farm range from $2,750 - $8,200, while a medium-sized farm can cost around $14,000 - $64,000. The total startup costs for a large Christmas tree farm range between $64,000 - $262,000.
  • The size of the farm affects the overall costs of production of a Christmas tree farm. A small-sized Christmas tree farm consists of 1 - 5 acres while a medium-sized farm has 5 - 10 acres.
  • A large-scale Christmas tree farm has 10 or more acres of land, which is the average land required to make a Christmas tree farm profitable. As the acre increases, the costs for land preparation also increase.

Breakdown of Costs in Starting a Christmas Tree Farm

When you plan to start a Christmas tree farm business, you may have to make a significant investment upfront. Below is a table showing the total startup costs of starting a small, medium, or large-sized farm setup.

Cost Item Small Setup (1-5 Acres) Medium Setup (5-20 Acres) Large Setup (Over 20 Acres)
Land $0-$500 $1,000-$10,000 $10,000-$100,000
Seedlings $100-$500 $1,000-$5,000 $5,000-$20,000
Equipment $500-$1,000 $5,000-$20,000 $20,000-$50,000
Supplies $50-$200 $500-$2,000 $2,000-$10,000
Labor $1,000-$5,000 $5,000-$20,000 $20,000-$50,000
Insurance $500-$1,000 $1,000-$5,000 $5,000-$20,000
Marketing $100-$500 $500-$2,000 $2,000-$10,000
Estimated Total Startup Costs $2,750-$8,200 $14,000-$64,000 $64,000-$262,000

The items in the table can be further categorized into fixed costs and variable costs. In this case, land and insurance costs are fixed costs because their value does not change with increases or decreases in the volume of production.

Variable expenses, on the other hand, are costs that fluctuate with the volume of production. Seedlings, supplies, labor, and marketing costs are considered variable expenses.

Equipment costs can be considered both fixed and variable, depending on the type of equipment and how it is used.

Now let’s take a deeper look at the costs of starting a Christmas tree farm, regardless of size.

Initial capital investment for starting a Christmas tree farm

This includes costs such as purchasing or leasing land, building, or renovating structures, and purchasing any necessary equipment and supplies to get the farm up and running.

For tree farms in general, the investment costs can range from $7,800 for small-scale farms to as high as $165,300 for large-scale farms. But for Christmas tree farms, the usual cost you need to invest will only range from as low as $5,000 to as high as $90,000.

Costs of land and site preparation

A small Christmas tree farm typically consists of 1–5 acres of land, while a medium farm consists of 5–10 acres. A large-scale Christmas tree farm consists of 10 or more acres of land, which is the average land size requirement for a Christmas tree farm.

The cost of land preparation for a Christmas tree farm depends on the size of the land, but it can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per acre. This includes costs for clearing the land, grading the terrain, installing irrigation systems, and preparing the soil for planting.

However, if the land is heavily wooded, the cost of clearing it can be much higher. Additionally, if the soil needs extensive preparation, such as soil testing, liming, or fertilization, these costs can add up quickly.

Costs of seedlings and planting

This includes costs such as purchasing seedlings or saplings, planting materials, and fertilizers. The usual cost of seedlings can range from $0.50 to $1.50 per seedling, depending on the quantity purchased and the type of seedling. Some are priced for as low as $0.35 per seedling.

The cost of planting, on the other hand, can range from $300 to $1,200 per acre, depending on the planting method used. Hand planting can cost up to $1,200 per acre, while mechanical planting can cost as little as $300 per acre.

Costs of Equipment and machinery

The table below shows the estimated cost of each piece of equipment and machinery necessary for maintaining your Christmas tree farm:

Equipment/Machinery Estimated Cost
Tractor (40-60 hp) $20,000 - $30,000
Mower $1,500 - $5,000
Shearing equipment $1,000 - $3,000
Cultivator $2,000 - $5,000
Fertilizer spreader $1,500 - $3,500
Irrigation equipment $2,000 - $5,000
Tree planter $5,000 - $10,000
Chainsaw $200 - $500
Pruning saws $50 - $200
Safety equipment (helmets, gloves, etc.) $500 - $1,000

These values can still escalate if you consider other ongoing costs such as maintenance, repairs, and fuel when estimating the overall cost of starting and maintaining a Christmas tree farm.

Cost of employing laborers

The cost of hiring employees or contractors to perform tasks such as planting, pruning, harvesting, and packaging may vary depending on the size of the farm, but ideally, assuming a standard workweek of 40 hours, the estimated cost of labor per hour can range from $12.50 to $25 per hour, with other sources stating a range from $12 to $30 per hour.

Costs of maintaining and upkeeping the farm

This includes the costs of shearing the trees, applying fertilizers, and pest control. Here are some estimated costs for maintaining and upkeeping a Christmas tree farm:

  1. Shearing is the process of trimming trees to maintain their shape and density. The cost of shearing can range from $0.75 to $1.50 per tree, so shearing can be as low as $50 per acre.

  2. Fertilization maintains the health of trees and promotes their growth. The cost of fertilization can range from $50 to $100 per acre per year.

  3. Pest control prevents trees from being damaged by insects and other pests. The cost of pest control can range from $100 to $200 per acre per year. To keep out animal intruders such as deer, you may be required to have fencing, which can cost around $300 per acre.

Costs for marketing and sales

The marketing and sales include costs for the following:

  1. Website promotion
    The cost of website development and maintenance can vary depending on the complexity of the website and the services of the web developer, but it can usually range from $1,500 to $5,000.

  2. Advertising
    The cost of advertising can range from $500 to $2,500 per year.

  3. Social media marketing
    The cost of social media marketing can range from $0 to $500 per year.

Costs for licenses and permits

One of the most important requirements in establishing a Christmas tree farm is to comply with legal requirements such as registering the business, applying for certifications, licenses, and permits.

Here's a detailed guide on the licensing and regulations required to start a Christmas tree farm.

These things will allow you to operate the farm, comply with environmental regulations, and sell products. Licenses and permits usually range from $200 - $300, while registering the business is priced between $150 - $200.

Costs of applying for insurance and liability

Purchasing insurance policies to protect the farm against liability claims, property damage, and other risks will usually range from $300 to $800 annually for general liability coverage of $1 million.

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