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Trouble with Canaan Fir Christmas Trees (IL)

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From: Gordon Sammons
Geneseo, IL
Hello, Started a Christmas tree farm in Henry County Illinois. 100% Canaan, as soil type is a silty clay loam, and I understand Canaan do better than other Christmas tree species on this soil.

We have numerous concerns. Very high death loss, herbicide usage, ground squirrel damage )bark on many of these trees are gone), and large trees are devoid of limbs in middle part of tree. 3' tree are missing 12-15" in center all the way around the tree. Plus many are brown. I would like to remediate these problems, but I do not know where to start. Can someone come out and look, and keep a social distance? I am really frustrated in my efforts. We have about 8 acres planted, and they are in poor shape. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, Gordon

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Hi Gordon:

One thing I've learned over the last 20 years of being a professional forester is that growing healthy Christmas trees in Illinois is a challenge!

Our soils (pH and texture / drainage) and our hot & humid summers provide many challenges which tend to surface in the form of Christmas tree health issues (both environmental and biological). It's not impossible to grow Christmas trees in Illinois -- it's just challenging.

I would strongly encourage you by starting with your local IDNR district forester, Mr. Steve Felt ( Steve is a seasoned forester and has a lot of experience with growing Christmas trees.

Best of luck!

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