Thursday, April 27, 2017

How to Tree Farm for profit


Tree Farming For profit 


So you want to become a tree farmer? What do you need to know?

There is no action that can start you on the path to freedom, more then growing and selling your own food.


Tree farming can be divided in to three sections


1. Starting

2. Storing

3. Selling




Section 1: Getting started





The first step in getting ready to become a tree farmer is doing some research. You want to find out what trees grow well in your area. Once you find what type of tree you’re going to grow, you want to find someone who is growing that kind of tree. It is best in most cases for the tree that you find, to be at least three years old. You can work with younger trees but the older the tree, the less time your new tree will need to grow before producing fruit.

Once you have found your tree and gained permission to clone from it follow the 12 steps below. Before starting, you can at one time, clone about 1/3 of all the branches of a tree without harming the tree. You can push this up to around ½ of the branches of any one tree.

Step 1: Tools and Material Required


Tools and Material Required:

The following tools and materials are required to do air-layering.

1. A sharp knife, or for kids doing this a potato peeler will work
2. Thick cotton threads or bread ties
3. Clean plastic sheet, or clean plastic bottle
4. Hack saw blade (or) a Pruning shears
5. Organic local honey, or root growth hormone  
6. Soil mix

Almost anything you use in your garden will work. I use a mix of peat moss and perlite, but I have seen this work with just dirt from a yard.  

Step 2: Selecting the Right Branch

Select a branch of about one year old, and half an inch thick. The branch should be healthy and free from any pest attacks. The best time to do air-cloning is when the plant starts growing new leaves.

Step 3: Make Deep Cuts

Make two clean cuts around the branch about one inch apart with a sharp knife.

Step 4: Peel Off the Bark

Peel off the bark between those two cuts. Try not to hurt the wood, but if you do cut the wood do not worry some people claim it is good for the process.

Step 5: Spread the Honey

Where you have peeled the bark off, spread a small amount of honey or root hormone over the whole wound.

Step 6: Wrap With Ball of Soil

Make a ball of soil; make sure to have plenty of soil as this is where your roots will grow.

Step 7: Wrap With Plastic Sheet

Wrap the soil using a plastic sheet of right size. Or a bottle that you slice down the side. Also, make sure to have the soil plenty moist. 

Step 8: Tie the Ends

Tie the ends tightly with cotton thread, so that no water or air can enter.

Now you have to wait for about eight to ten weeks, sometimes more, before rooting takes place.

Step 9: See the Roots Through the Plastic Sheet

After about ten weeks’ time, my air-cloned tree branch will have grown roots. You can see the white roots through the plastic sheet.

Step 10: Remove the Wrapping

Remove the plastic sheet. Now you can see the roots clearly.

Step 11: Prune the Rooted Branch

Cut the branch just below the rooted portion with pruning shears or with a hacksaw blade, without damaging the root ball. I prefer to use a hacksaw, as the wood can be very hard to cut with pruning shears.

Step 12: Plant It To Keep or To Sell

Plant the rooted branch in a pot, at least a one gallon. Later you may have to transplant it to a larger pot, but one gallon bag or pot will work for now.  If space is available, you can also plant it in the ground .


Section 2: Storing the Trees

So here is the real secret to trees. If they do not sell the first year, their value doubles. You can pick up a newly rooted apple tree for around $9. Whereas, a one year old tree is going to cost you around $20-$29. A two year old tree goes for $40- $56. So what do you have to do to make this extra money? Not a lot. Make sure the roots have enough room to grow, so that the tree can grow. By transplanting it to a larger pot. A 5 gallon to 7 gallon for a tree up to 1 year old.  Larger pots for older trees. Keep them watered and fed, by making, and giving them compost tea every few months. If you’re in a colder climate you may want to put them in a greenhouse.    

Section 3: Selling

I could write an entire book on the selling process, and in fact I have. So it will be hard for me to keep this short and on the topic of fruit trees.
There are a few ways to sell your trees, that I know of. If you know of any other ways please let me know.

From your house to people

          This is as easy as it sounds. Post your trees on craigslist, put up signs in stores, and even take out an ad in the newspaper. If your prices are right, you can make a lot of sales this way. When pricing for home sales, take in to account, that you did not have to waste gas driving them to a store or mailing them off.

To a store for resale

          Before you try and sell to stores, invest in a Cottage Industry Licence. It's cheap, and in some states even free. It will allow you to sell goods made at home. Then you need to take a walk around the store, see the prices they are selling similar products for. If you figure they marked it up by double what they paid for it. So if they are selling trees for $10 they most likely are buying them for around $5. I suggest that you get your foot in the door and offer them at $4. If you have saved cash to keep your business running, then I also recommend this trick. Offering to buy back all unsold stock at the end of the season at the same price they bought them from you. This gives the store a guarantee that they will not be stuck with unsold product. This also allows you to resell them next year at higher price. Remember this is all about the long game.

At a farmers market

By far, this is the best way to sell trees. Not because it will make you the most money, but because it will expose you to many opportunities that you would have missed otherwise. It is like going to a marketing meeting with hundreds of like minded people.  
Online

For this, you will just need to find a place to sell your trees at. The best way is to make a website. You can also do this from a blog, or even Facebook.  If you need help setting up a website, I recommend Go Daddy for buying the web address, hosting, and for the technical support you may need for building your website. Click the link below to find out more information.
 




Bonus:

There’s an old proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” In a culture that is largely inundated with instant gratification, the natural process of growing fruit trees may seem like an eternity. It’s not uncommon for people to list time as one of their top reasons for not growing food — time has less to do with planting and more to do with waiting; however, any gardener will remind you that anything worth doing is worth waiting for. So, on average, how long is it before you should expect to see fruit from your newly planted trees?

Fruit Tree Type            Years to Fruit from seed

Apple Trees                              2-5 years
Apricot Trees                           2-5 years
Banana Plants                          2-3 years
Cherry Trees (sour)                 3-5 years
Cherry Trees (sweet)               4-7 years
Citrus Trees                             1-2 years
Fig Trees                                 1-2 years
Mulberry Trees                       2-3 years
Nectarine Trees                       2-4 years
Olive Trees                              2-3 years
Pawpaw Trees                         5-7 years
Peach Trees                             2-4 years
Pear Trees                               4-6 years
Persimmon Trees                    3-4 years
Plum Trees                              3-6 years


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