|Christmas tree management in silvopastures can benefit understory forage and reduce disease|
The new work will compare forage production at two sites incorporating differing treatment combinations of fertilization, pruning and forage composition. The project is located on a stump-culture native-stand Christmas tree production area on a BC Hydro transmission line right of way (ROW). Kootenay Tree Farms has been operating this management area in conjunction with BC Hydro for over 20 years. Christmas trees produced on site are predominantly Douglas fir and the whole tree farm is just under 400 ha. The demonstration will utilize five, 2 ha blocks of the Christmas tree production area, descending in elevation and separated by other operational Christmas-tree production areas. Each block will include the following three treatments:
- Pruned, spaced and fertilized - with domestic forage in the understory;
- Pruned, spaced and fertilized - with native grasses/forages in the understory;
- Unpruned, unspaced and unfertilized – with domestic forages in the understory.
A production system cost-benefit analysis will be developed based on the project results and regional production and market information for a communication fact sheet. And Kootenay Tree Farms will also work with the Christmas tree, range management and wildlife organizations by sharing information and inviting members to field workshops.
Kootenay Tree Farms, of Cranbook, has been in business for over 25 years producing native-stand Christmas trees on both a BC Hydro right-of-way (under a lease agreement) and a -permit area on Crown land. Christmas trees have been the focus of production however, Kootenay Tree Farms also has experience diversifying production through related products such as boughs, wreathes and garlands.
For more information on silvopasture management using Christmas trees please see AIDI Extension Note 3.