This is probably the most common question we have received since we started the Woods Tree Farm YouTube Channel: “Where do you buy your Christmas tree seedlings?”
When we were starting out, we also had difficulty finding seedling suppliers.
Many suppliers have been around a long time, have an established customer base, and (perhaps because they don’t need new customers) many don’t have well established websites and are otherwise difficult to find online.
I’ve searched and searched and have been unable to find any kind of master list of Christmas tree seedling suppliers, so I made an attempt to gather my own list and provide it here for you. [download link further below]
Seedlings vs. Transplants
When you talk to Christmas tree farmers, you’ll find they all seem to use these terms interchangeably, and most will just call them all seedlings, but from what I’ve gathered, there actually is a difference when talking to a supplier.
When Christmas trees are grown from seed, they’re generally started in seed beds where the trees stay for 2 to 3 years. If you’re buying small trees directly from these seed beds, you’re buying a seedling.
Many nurseries will transplant seedlings after 2 or 3 years to give the seedlings more space to grow lateral branches. Once established in a transplant bed, the seedling is now called a transplant. You’ll generally purchase transplants after they’ve been established in a transplant bed for 1-3 years.
Seedling and Transplant Sizing Scale
Most nurseries will give their trees a sizing number that corresponds with the amount of time spent in a seed bed and transplant bed. In general, the older the tree, the larger the tree, and the more it will cost you.
Example sizing numbers
- 2-0: grown in seed bed for 2 years
- 2-1: grown in seed bed for 2 years and transplant bed for 1 year
- p+2: started as a plug, transferred to transplant bed for 2 year
Exceptions To The Typical Sizing Scale
Many nurseries use the scale above for plants grown from seed outdoors, but I’ve come across two exceptions. There certainly could be more out there, but this is what I’ve experienced.
- Greenhouses grow their plants in individual containers, and will generally sell the tree based on the size of the container.
- Trees grown from cuttings, such as Leyland Cypress, are also sold based on their size of their container.
It can be difficult to compare the size and cost of traditionally grown transplants to greenhouse or containerized plants since there is no consistent scale.
When To Order Christmas Tree Seedlings?
In short, order early. Most farms are ordering trees in the summer for next Spring’s planting. A few nurseries are taking orders as much as 2 years in advance. You’ll just have to call around ask for details.
If you’re planning on planting in the Fall, first know that not all nurseries will ship seedlings in the Fall. The ones that do ship in the fall will take orders the previous winter or early Spring of the same year.
Choosing A Supplier – Location
The location of your supplier can introduce several additional variables for your consideration.
The first consideration is whether you’ll be picking up your order or having the trees shipped to you. Depending on the size of your order, shipping can add significant cost to your order. Obviously, the farther from your location, the most costly shipping will be.
Weather and timing is another consideration. I’ve personally ordered from nurseries in MI or PA and had Spring orders delayed due to weather. We might be warming up considerably in the Spring in Virginia while northern states are still frozen solid and nurseries cannot get their trees out of the ground to ship.
How Much Do Christmas Tree Seedlings Cost?
The cost of Christmas tree seedlings will vary based on age/size, species, and quantity.
I’ve seen some 2-0 seedlings as little as $0.30 when purchased in quantity. 2-2 fir trees might be $5-$6 each if purchasing less than 50 trees but the price could go down closer to $2 per tree if purchasing over 500.
Some suppliers also have minimum order quantity or minimum dollar amounts, so if you’re only looking for a few or a few dozen trees, you selection of suppliers will be even more limited.
Many suppliers are transparent with their pricing and order requirements with detailed price lists available on their websites.
VIEW THE LIST >>> Wholesale Christmas Tree Seedling Nurseries