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Happiness lies in being privileged to work hard for long hours in doing whatever you think is worth doing.
Robert A. Heinlein

Are you tired of city life? Commute got you down? Feeling claustrophobic about having 12 neighbors in range of your golf swing? In the great Rat Race, are the rats are winning? This letter is for you.

I hear from a lot of people in the city that they are tired of the daily, long commutes in rush-hour traffic. That they want make a bigger difference than pushing papers and are looking for better ways to contribute to live a lifestyle that's more sustainable (financially and ecologically). Many want out of gas and oil but don't know what else to do.

My name is Sherwood Botsford and, for the last 13 years, my wife Laura and I have run a tree farm (located about 45 minutes outside of Edmonton's south and west city limits).

In the beginning it was a hobby.

I wanted something that would keep me busy when I retired. We decided that we weren't going to borrow money for this venture. That way, I'd never have to do something underhanded to make the loan payment. The first few years we sank about $10,000 a year into the farm. Pots, trees, pipe, tractor bits etc. From 2003 to 2010 we broke even and all the gross profit went back into the farm. More pipe. More trees.

In 2016 we made a gross profit of just over $40,000 on sales just under 80,000 a slight decrease of 3.0% from last year. Not bad for an economic slump. Our inventory, on the other hand, has increased in value from $275,000 to $315,000 in the same time period.

In 2017 we matched last year's total sales by the first of June. That's not quite as wonderful as it sounds. May and June are our busy months.

"You've got to kidding. 13 years and just breaking even?"

We have never borrowed money for the farm.. Think about that. Every nickel has come out of our discretionary spending. It's been self supporting since 2008. Before that we were sinking about $10,000 a year into it.

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Comments on above Graph:

Of course, we would say that our business has a good reputation but, perhaps, you might want to hear from our customers. TESTIMONIALS? [ ] These people need to be asked if we can use their names.

Excellent service, very knowledgeable. He really knows his stuff, very good prices and I'm very happy with my apple trees! [Cory Peters]

Sherwood and Laura have been so kind and patient with us, our daughter and all of our questions regarding planting, pruning, and general growth of the trees. We will be back again!

[Herald and Stacey Sundar]

Stony plain.

What is your life like? How does your day go? How do your seasons run?

If you have any questions, please drop us an email.

Sincerely,

Sherwood & Laura Botsford

Operational Overview

This is a container based tree farm: Everything is done in pots. Tree size ranges from seedling to 1.5 inch caliper. The farm has been growing steadily for the last 9 years, even while the economy has tanked. Remember the crunch in 2008? We grew. The crunch when oil dropped to 40 bucks a barrel? We grew, just not much. It is ready for the next step up. We've had a cash flow of just under 80 thousand dollars the last two years. In 2017, we hit $80,000 on the first of June.

Our market is largely farm and acreage owners, with some city customers, and a few out of province clients. We have specialized in smaller trees. Seedlings have grown in popularity, possibly due to the economy, but I think mostly because more people are attempting bigger projects.

Current market niches:

(Note to Laura: Collecting this info maybe should be a sheet on that Move spread sheet? Table here: By niche & total Cashflow, inventory, capital aquisitions? For last 3? - 5? years.)

Future Directions

The farm is ready to grow. There are many possibilities, many directions that beckon. Some additional money needs to be spent. Some of these projects just mean more work. Some require considerable development and cash input. This is the overview. Most of these options have a note further on that gives a bit more detail. Spend some time with the notes. Set up trial spreadsheets using some of the provided numbers. See what you think. (If you do it as a google sheet, we can interact over it.)

Trees

This section is stuff that can be started now, and that mostly requires work, and not cash.

Land Use

Most of the items in this section have no direct immediate payoff. Instead they are infrastructure changes, or they have payoffs a decade or more from now. These are significant if you like the idea of teaching workshops. Many of these can become income streams in their own right, but may be distracting from your primary focus.

Cash Flow, Brand Awareness and New & Expanding Markets

Heading for the Future

Infrastructure required for expansion

Your next step

If you just want to talk to me, I will give you the one hour tour for free. After that I charge $60 an hour. Come here. We will walk, and chat. I'm quite willing to teach you want I know.

Or…

Come work with me. I like to talk while working. You will learn from what I say and what you see. You will learn through your fingers from what you do. Also: If I'm giving you a year's support, I want to know that we are going to get along. I lose some productivity when I talk, but hopefully your work more than makes up for it. My goal: I want you to have your eyes wide open when you come into this. Win-win.

You need to do your due diligence. You need to take these ideas, and turn them into numbers. You need to seek out other people, and see if those numbers make sense. When you are ready, you may come and extract data from our books, to convince yourself that we have not 'fudged' the numbers.

Notes

These notes are roughly in order of importance and practicality and impact on the bottom line. Some are easy. Some are hard. Some cheap, others expensive.

Seedlings

This year we bought about 14,000 seedlings and 2 yr old bare root trees. We sold 7000 of them right away. Two things are needed to increase these sales: More effective marketing, and a cold room for longer storage. At this point we are moving to the paid ads on Kijiji. And we are rewriting target landing pages on our web site for seedlings. Stay tuned. The cold room is a more expensive proposition. I have an insulated shed that that has barrels of water that freeze over winter. This, coupled with a winter of cold sinking into the foundation give me about 2 weeks extra time in spring. A better solution would be a purpose built building for this task. An actual walk in cooler would be ideal, but the expense is heavy for something that gets used for only a few weeks a year.

_Economics of seedling sales _

Seedlings typically range in price from 30 cents per tree (reforestation surplus conifers) to $1.50 per tree (2-3 year old black walnut 18" tall) They are sold at prices ranging from $2.00 to $4.00 each depending on both species and quantity. This puts us at about ⅔ to ¾ of the price that Tree Time costs.

The remainders are potted up either in styroblocks or in #1 or #2 pots.

The seedling market is difficult to predict. Two years ago I brought in 700 lilac seedlings, sold them all, and had calls for 700 more. This year I ordered a thousand, and had 400 leftover to pot up.

The markup is large enough that this stream would be profitable even if we discarded all surplus.

Shelterbelt Production

Overall shelterbelt tree production could double over the next 2-3 years. The last two year's poplar sales have held steady, in part to lack of poplar stock. Poplar are by far the most popular shelterbelt tree. We're planting an extra 2000 this year.

Economics of willow and poplar production

1000 trees:

Inputs:

1000 #2 pots $250 to $1200 (depends on pot type)

2000 gallons of dirt+compost at $75/1000 gal= $150 or 15 cents per pot.

12 hours labour to fill the pots @15/hour = $180

1000 cuttings -- 10 hours labour * 100 cuttings/hour @ $15/hour = $150

10 bales of flax straw $4 each. $40

10 hours applying flax mulch to pots $150

Watering:

1 liter per pot twice a week from May to October. 25 weeks * 1000 pots * 1 liter * 2/wk * 50% coverage = 100 cubic meters of water. (Well provides about 1 cubic meter per hour)

5 minutes twice a week to move sprinklers. 25 weeks * 2/wk * 1/12 hr = 4 hours @ $15/hour =$60

Fertilizing

20 gm slow release fertilizer * 1000 pots = $85

Weeding.

30 seconds per pot * 1000 pots * 4 times per summer = 2000 minutes = 40 hours = $600

Total costs Cost of pot + 1.50

Sales value: $15,000 in small quantities. This gives considerable margin for discounts on large orders. (Discount by up to ⅓ for orders of 200)

Edible Landscaping

Fruit tree and shrub sales increased by 65% this year. I bring in about 15 each of 4 kinds of plums, 6 kinds of apples, 2 kinds of pears, and assorted small bush fruit. Some years I run out of some items. Some years I have extras. Unsold trees move to bigger containers in September.

To go forward here, we need to continue to participate actively in the local Fruit growers group, permaculture group, and back to the land/homesteading movements. This is mostly done through mailing lists and facebook groups. This is time consuming.

A second way forward is to become more cutting edge. Collect different cultivars, and do our own grafting. This puts us in the position of having what the customer is looking for. In particular the russians are doing interesting things with pears.

A third way forward is to sell larger specimens. This year some of my potted Norkents and Battleford's had actual apples on them. This is a big seller. It takes roughly 2-3 extra years to get fruit off a tree, but I suspect that people will pay $150 for such a tree instead of $80. Similarly with bush fruit, a #4 potted black currant with a pie's worth of fruit on it will sell better than a #2 with 23 berries.

Buying for immediate resale

Economics of buy and sell

This applies both for the edible landscaping and the ornamentals.

Generally I take my purchase price, round it up to the next $5 interval and double it. Thus an apple tree that is bought for $37 is sold for $80. Two-thirds of the trees and shrubs bought this way are sold the first summer. The remainder are transplanted into a larger pot in September, and have an appropriately larger price next spring.

This is a lower profit stream, but it's an entirely different niche. In some cases the trees are sold before they arrive, through ads on Kijiji. More of this to come. Last year we shared a semi-trailer with ONE other grower. They got the front 6 feet. We had the rest. This year we had our own semi. And 20 feet of a second semi a month later.

This stream should scale well: Season leftovers are a chance thing. As this scales up, I expect the leftovers to scale roughly with the square root of the increase. E.g. If with 100 trees we had 15 leftover trees, then with 400 trees we will have about 30.

The key reason for this approach: Always have an answer to what the customer wants. May not be the right answer, but a diverse selection is more likely to get the the customer to drive out to the farm. The customer you sell a good ornamental crab this year may well be back in 10 years when they have an acreage.

Native Trees & Shrubs

Native trees and shrubs are often wanted in large quantities in smaller sizes on short notice. At present I buy what I can as plugs, grow them as 1 liter styroblock trees for 1 to 2 years. The magic size is 24 inches. This is large enough to compete when planted with local weeds and grass.

Economics of native trees and shrubs

Seedlings for native shrubs typically come as plugs, and cost about 60 to 90 cents each. It takes 3 minutes to plant 15 trees into a styroblock, and another 3 minutes to mulch them and set them out in the tree farm. That's .4 minutes per tree at 25 cents a minute for labour = 10 cents. The styroblock is \4, which is about 30 cents per tree, but I get about half of them back. Weeding is twice a year at 5 trees per minute, so call it 10 cents. So net input costs are between 1.25 and 1.75 per tree. Going rate is \4/tree if more than 8 blocks are purchased at a time, \5 a tree otherwise. \6/tree if they don't want a whole block.

The problem is to have enough when they are wanted. Guess wrong, and you have a thousand of something extra. One partial answer to this is to grow them to size, then park them in a shaded area. I have one block reserved for this use. It's on the north side of a shelterbelt, so it gets early morning and late afternoon direct sun, and dappled shade during the rest of the day. Judging by water use, they slow down to about ⅓ their normal growth rate. This allows an inventory of about three times the size to be kept for the cost of twice yearly weeding, and occasional watering.

There is some interest in natives in larger sizes, so unsold styros are repotted in #2 pots as needed.

Plugs

This ties in to the previous two notes. I've gotten requests for quantity purchases of native currants, gooseberries, hazelnuts, snowberry, juniper, swamp birch, water birch. I've been unable to locate these as plugs with local provenance.

Growing plugs also gives us the option of doing our own grafting. This creates a long pipeline: Example: Plant siberian crab seeds. 1 year later, transplant to styro, 1 year later transplant to #2 pot, 1 year later, graft a desirable apple to the crab, 2 years later sell as a 4 foot whip, or 4 years later sell as a fruiting tree. So, 5 to 7 years. But at the end of that you have a hundred dollar product that took a few minutes of your time total.

I've also had trouble getting liner stock for certain ornamentals.

At this point I don't have an economic breakdown for this. A first run at this this fall took 6 hours of labour to seed 12 flats at about 200 seeds per flat. Assuming half sprout. Next summer then will require transplanting into styroblocks. This will be slower than using plugs, due to the small fragile nature of fresh seedlings, but not nearly as slow as trying to empty and replant single cells in styroblocks. More research needed.

I expect this to be more time consuming. When I get a plug, it's a year old, and it takes something under a half a minute to set it up for the next year. With my own seeds it will take 1 year in a flat, then a transplant. Overall I expect costs to be at least triple -- except that I don't have to buy the plugs. For this sort of project a lot will depend on who you have on the the potting bench.

Seed Orchards

Orchard is a bit grandiose. This year I had two of my Meyer's Spruce bear cones, about a dozen each. That gave me 2000 seeds, of which I planted about a thousand. That production line depends on two trees ten feet apart, and while a few thousand seeds is sufficient for in-house production, it's limiting if you want to add a line of seeds later. In addition right now my Meyer's are about 6 feet tall. Picking cones is easy. Won't be so easy when they are 50 feet tall, not that I'm worrying about it this year. In addition having multiple trees gives you more genetic diversity. I figure that planting them in small batches a few years apart will be sufficient. I'm also trying 200 tatarian maple and 200 siberian crabapple.

This does not need to be done as a separate block, unless you are into serious production. Instead expand the demo gardens. This has the additional gift of showing off the same species at multiple stages of development, and can be used to model various landscaping ideas. (2017: No meyers cones this year.)

Caliper Trees

Economics of 1.5" caliper tree production

A tree block is a strip 6 feet wide x 240 feet long. It contains 720 #10 grow bags (40 liters), usually 3 or 4 species mixed, with different growth habits. (Consider: A spruce is wide at the bottom. A maple is wide at the top. Mix them up, and they don't crowd each other as soon.) The advantage of a grow bag is simple: You can put a seedling in it, and it won't develop a hollow root ball, but will instead develop a very fibrous root system. Google "Root control bag" "Hi-caliper"

Inputs:

720 growbags @ \4 each \2800

720 * 40 liters of soil mix = 30 cubic meters -- half a walking trailer load. About \1000

30 bales flax straw for mulch (\4/bale) \120

500 feet drip line at \0.12/foot \60

500 feet spaghetti tube at \0.04/foot \20

Landscaping fabric & geotextile staples to fasten down $200

720 drippers at $0.14 $100

720 seedlings average $1 each $720. (Can also use larger trees -- shortens the cycle, but increases the labour. My present tactic is to plant one block of seedlings and one block of larger trees each year.

4 cubic meters of water/week for 25 weeks. (This is average: The first year they get enough rain. It is about double this at the end.)

30 gm fertilizer once a year. (Average again.)

It takes about 4 to 8 years for a block to mature. At the end of this time you have about 650 trees left that are 1.25 to 1.75 inch caliper, 7 to 10 feet tall, that retail for about $100 each.

With 14 foot aisles this allows 6000 trees per acre.

Field Trees

A field operation is very different. Different tools, different skills, different customers. Many customers for large trees want to purchase the tree and the installation service from the same outfit, so there's no finger pointing "It was a sick tree" "You didn't install it right" later on. Your customers are mostly housing developers, landscape contractors, and municipal governments who want to sub-contract the supply and tree planting to you. Occasionally you will get a single tree contract. These are a pain unless you can line up 6 of them that can be done on the same day.

Field grown trees will eventually require a bobcat and tree spade. If you deliver you need a good truck and a substantial trailer. When I started up, I initially considered field growing but ran into this:

Retail

At present this is not really a retail operation. We work by appointment. We don't have signs on the approach highways. Every customer is treated as a potential bulk sale, and gets individual attention from Sherwood or Laura. (Our average sale is between 500 and 600 dollars) Some steps toward a better retail experience:

Shelterbelts Infrastructure & Long Term Inventory

Shelterbelts provide nesting sites. Birds forage for insects and seeds on the surrounding open areas. Predatory wasps make their homes. I'm convinced that my large areas of nearby bush are most of the reason that I have little in the way of insect pests.

One of the techniques I started using two years ago: Park tree blocks on the north side of a shelterbelt. It gets some sun before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m. but missing the noonday sun slows growth and decreases water usage. This provides a way of maintaining large inventories with less frequent transplanting, and less watering. At present I uses this for reclamation species, growing them for 1-2 years in styro, then moving them to shade. It also works for balsam fir and all the spruce.

A small grower has difficulty being ready for a large purchaser. The ability to maintain significant amounts of inventory at little expense is a major tool to achieve this.

Breaking the land up with shelterbelts also increases snow depth. Even a few inches extra makes a big difference in winter kill, and tends to keep the deer out. (Moose is another story.)

Website, Social Media, and Branding

The website is entirely created and coded by us. It is simple, static with no flash, no sizzle, but with (mostly) clear high quality content. While there are good web designers out there, our website routinely garners praise and enthusiasm from our customers. A blend of advice, humour, and information makes this an excellent marketing tool. If you are comfortable with Markdown, Perl, and CSS, or are willing to learn, updating the website is an excellent winter project. The website is under a home grown content management system. Adding/modifying a page is done with a simple text editor. Most of the html coding is hidden where you don't need to see it. Check it out at http://sherwoods-forests.com

However it is not sufficient:

We have a facebook page, but it is moribund. I'm not convinced that an FB page is effective for small business. (What purchases have you made based on a company facebook page? Me neither.) I do find however that participating in local plant and garden oriented groups is effective. However it's time consuming, and Facebook prevents automated tools from posting to groups, so there is a shortage of tools to help.

Our website should have a blog. Blog and newsletter should be integrated so that people can get the same content on site, or reading in their inbox, or reading it on our Facebook or Google+ page. Blogs should be discussable, even if that means a fully moderated forum. Ideally the discussion is ported between the various channels too.

Be very wary of SEO mechanics. If they need to change the web page, you no longer have control of it. SEO is a mugs game. Google makes it very clear: Have good content. Search for "Swedish Aspen" with no qualifications, and our page on columnar poplar comes up usually around 10th place. Go read the page. My goal is to have a whole website with this quality of content. Try tree farm edmonton. We're 3rd on the list. We aren't on the map, because Edmonton's map isn't big enough to include us.

APC and Government tenders

Most cities and many towns use the Alberta Purchasing Connection to post tenders. http://www.purchasingconnection.ca/ You have to create a login, but that is free. Tenders are usually listed for only 2-3 weeks. It is however worth your while to pick up the info even for tenders that you don't plant to bid on, as they give information about what is hot this year.

Smaller tenders (under $10,000) are not required to go through APC. We have been doing occasional $1-2 thousand dollar supply contracts for NAIT and City of St. Albert for several years. This kind of contract depends on who you know, and catching the ad (if there is one) in the local paper.

Fortunately most tenders by cities can be awarded in chunks. Last year some fast action (I saw the tender only about a week before closing) got us a $9 thousand dollar contract with City of Edmonton.

Install

I get repeated requests for installation. As supplied trees get larger, this becomes more critical. A fit person can install a 10-15 gallon tree without too much hassle, but for someone who isn't inclined to garden work, they are very willing to pay you to install.

I have done installs in late June. My usual charge is the price of the tree. E.g. A row of 3 apple trees will be $100 per tree for the trees, $100 per tree to install and the usual 150 delivery charge to Edmonton. These prices are deliberately high because I don't really want to do it. At my present scale I regard installs as a distraction from running the farm. If you go down this route, train an employee to do them. Pay them a few bucks extra per hour for install jobs, or pay them half of the installation fee. Set it up so that they have several to do on the same day. Try to couple it with deliveries -- eg. They spend Saturday doing two deliveries and 3 installs. If you can do this, then the 2.5 hour round trip costs can be split over several customers, and you can lower your rates and still make money.

Economics of Installs

Note that when you are selling a service, price it at several times the cost of your labour to do the actual service to cover the slack time, and the transportation costs. In the apple example above, you are going to drive 200 km ($100) 2.5 hours labour for two people at $18/hour just for the drive ($90) Half an hour unloading, agreeing where they go. 20 minutes to plant each tree. That's another hour and a half labour. = $54. We're at 240 bucks outlay. So you could drop your prices to $100 for edmonton delivery and 50 bucks a tree to plant, and break even. This assumes your people don't stop and eat lunch while the meter is running, and get promptly back to work once they get back. Nor did you count loading the trees, verifying you had the right orders on board…

A Better Swedish Aspen

This is a long term, moderately high risk (it could well not work), fairly cheap project that potentially can make millions. It will also make your name.

When we were just starting, Swedish aspen was about a quarter to half of our total sales. It's narrow form, fast growth, and easy care made it very popular on small lots for privacy screening. But Swedish Aspen suffers from bronze leaf disease. This is a fungal disease that usually kills the tree in about 4 years. All columnar swedish aspen are clones of a single mutation discovered in (surprise!) Sweden decades ago. They are genetically identical so all are susceptible. Breeding a resistant tree is not possible directly.

In some trees columnar forms are a single mutation. The resulting gene is usually recessive. In some cases (columnar apples) it's incompletely dominant. Columnar trees can result from one of several mutations:

What is needed:

Risks:

If the columnar gene is on the same chromosome that the caries susceptibility to BLD all the columnar trees may die from BLD -- you won't get ones that are immune.

Don't be tempted to use the F0 males as breeding stock.  Yes they carry the columnar trait, but they also are known to get BLD.

Larch as a long term crop

Siberian Larch is in the same genus as our native tamarack, but is more tolerant of a wide variety of soil and moisture regimes. If larch were planted on 8 foot spacing, you would get about 600 per acre. Grow until you have a butt diameter of about 6".

Larch wood is highly resistant to decay, especially the heart wood. Remove ¾ of the trees, selling them as preservative-free fence posts. This leaves the remaining trees on 16 foot grid. Grow these until 12-16 inches in diameter. Harvest them for flooring.

This is a long term project, taking about 40 years. While it is in place, the farm may be able to recoup all operating costs for that unit by selling carbon credits.

Reforesting Dying Poplar Bush

We no longer allow the normal parkland succession: Grassland, poplar, spruce, fire, repeat. Poplar bush typically lasts 50 to 100 years then is taken over by spruce if there is a seed tree within a reasonable distance, or by a temporary regime of shrubs.

I get several requests per year for poplar seedlings to plant to rejuvenate poplar forests. Doesn't work. More sun needed. You have to make at least 1 acre clearings in the poplar overstory for young poplar to grow.

An alternative is to plant foreign and native species that do reasonably well in shade, and potentially have a use or profit. For this to be successful you need two things:

This can be started already with signage on some of the bush trails. More work needed for this.

Ideally these need to be reclamation size trees -- big enough to compete with the understory, small enough to plant quickly, cheap enough to do on large scale. We have some of these already. Various spruces, firs, maples. We are starting to develope a supply of oaks. Silver maple is available. Sugar maple requires a seed source.

Maple trees generally are shade tolerant, and will grow under a poplar canopy. Silver maple are as sweet as sugar maple, and grow faster. With some encouragement they will be ready to tap in 20 years. Plant silver maple in areas that currently have mature balsam poplar. Plant sugar maple in drier areas that support aspen. (You can also tap manitoba maple and birch, but the sugar content tends to be lower.)

Other possible trees: Spruce, balsam fir, high bush cranberry, chokecherry, oak, red maple, black walnut.

For this project you act in two directions:

  1. As a demonstration, you plant a hundred of each in our own bush.
  2. Once they get big enough to be seen as a tree (7 feet) put signs up along a trail teaching people about the new forest.
  3. Sell seedlings for all the species.

    Economics of Reforestation.

    Your costs of seedlings run about a buck each. For 5 years you will plant 200 to 400 trees. Cost: About $2000.

    Signage: You will want signs per species, and in addition to signage for the benefits of diversity. Call it 20 signs at $10 each. $200

    Web page: Photographs and blog entrys, and editing the Re-forestation web page. 100 hours over 5 years. $2000.

    So you have a 5 year project that costs under $5,000 to implement. To break even you have to sell something like 2000 seedlings. Good bet, eh?

Agroforestry & Wildcrafting

This is the above program on steroids. Add to the above:

Workshops

As a hub we become a point of contact, we build brand awareness. Part of this requires that we need to have examples of what we talk about. This is useful in selling trees anyway. We already have a demo garden with most of our ornamentals and shelterbelt trees in it. This requires development of rest room facilities.

Possible topics:

There may be possibilities as a teaching location for guest lecturers.

Christmas Trees

At present there is the remnants of a Christmas Tree maze -- 4 miles of spaghetti trail scribbled into 16 acres. The idea was that each block of the jigsaw puzzle would be one species of tree. It would take about 8,000 trees to fill the maze. I started this as a way to use up trees that weren't pretty enough for retail.

The numbers were discouraging, and in the end, I decided that I had enough to do:

The way to make this really work is to make the farm a winter destination. Get people to come for more than a Christmas tree.

*Personnel: *To run this you would need people for the following roles.

For a 4 weekend program you need to hire your team for 4 weekends plus one training day. If they work from 10 to 4 and grab lunch on the fly it will be 5 people * 9 days * 6 hours = 270 man hours. At $15/hour that's about $4000.

*Potential problems: *There are a few items that may puncture this idyllic balloon.

Economics:

If you sell 50 trees a weekend with a $80/car entry fee you have a cash flow of $16,000 on entrance fees alone. You will also have some costs associated with the concessions, but they should be covered by extra ticket sales. Is this worth it? 50 trees is a new customer on the average showing up every 12 minutes. But it won't work like that. Half of them will show up between 10:30 and 11:30, with another quarter in the half hour before and after. Most will stay for about 3 hours, unless the weather is bitter cold, or if there is no snow. Indeed, if there is no snow, you may sell all 200 trees in the last week in November. Don't expect that, but have a plan for that.

In addition to this, you need to chuck some resources at the maze in the summer. Christmas trees need to be pruned -- I think starting at age 4, and every couple years after that. You have replacement trees to plant, but I have had success even as late as November transplanting into the maze.

Typical Pine

Lodgepole Pine in our front yard.



Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.