Biodiverse-Organic Christmas Tree Production

2002 Annual Report for FS02-152

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2002: $9,333.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:

Biodiverse-Organic Christmas Tree Production


Nearly three-fourths of all pesticides applied to Frasier Fir are used to control the Balsam Twig Aphid (BTA). This serious springtime pest causes needle curl and associated sooty mold from aphid honeydew. There are predators for the BTA (hoverfly larvae and ladybeetle adults and larvae for example) but they are typically not present in conventional tree fields until after the trees have broken bud and suffered damage. If early season pesticides for the BTA can be reduced or eliminated, then increased numbers of biological control agents can be present in the trees to feed on other pests like the Balsam Wooly Adelgid and Spruce Spider Mite that occur later in the season.

This producer will phase out conventional chemical pesticides and adopt organic methods (while not yet being certified). He will also develop and maintain habitat for beneficial insects. He will document the new methods of Christmas tree production and make them available to the rest of the Christmas tree industry.