A Christmas tree farm can be a profitable venture for Florida farmers, according to Roger Webb with the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service. Conifers such as Eastern red cedar, sand pine and Virginia pine--ideal as Christmas trees--grow well in the sandy soil and warm temperatures that dominate in Florida. It takes four years from planting to maturity to have a crop of trees suitable for seasonal harvest. Although periodic shaping ensures that a conifer will grow into a perfectly-shaped Christmas tree, it is just as important to plant good seedlings.
Select a high-quality seedling for planting. High-quality seedlings will grow at a faster rate. Purchase your seedlings from a local nursery that has grown them from locally-produced seed--these will be adapted to grow well in Florida's sandy soil and warm temperatures. Typically seedlings sold from nurseries are sold in lots. Bare root seedlings are a year old and are sold in bundles of 500 or 1,000.
Discard the smallest seedlings from your seedling lot. These will not produce strong, healthy trees. Also discard the largest seedlings that have tops much larger than the root system. The roots of these trees will not sustain adequate development of tree tops.
Mark your tree spacing on a map of your tree lot. Space trees 6 feet apart in rows that are also 6 feet apart. Take this map with you along with a tape measure when you plant your seedlings to ensure proper placement.
Insert a spade into the ground and work it back and forth to open up a wedge-shaped hole in the ground. Measure your tree roots and trim any excessively long roots. Then insert the tree's roots into the planting wedge. Do not let the root curl. Roots that curl may grow around themselves instead of into the soil. Do not plant seedlings too deep. Seedlings should be planted at the same depth as their planting at the nursery where they grew.
Insert the spade into the ground at a point 2 inches away from your planting hole and work the soil back and forth to loosen it and shove it back over the tree's roots. Stamp on this second hole with the heel of your shoe to fill it in.