If you’re considering starting a tree farm, you are no doubt asking yourself – Are tree farms profitable? Can they become viable businesses and how long would you need to wait before your farm starts making money?

As with any business, the answer is not always black and white. All farming businesses carry certain risks that are completely out of your hands – for instance the weather. Other factors that affect profitability include the cost of land, the size and type of farm, its location, the climate, the type of trees you plan to grow, the price of lumber, shipping costs, equipment costs, labor costs, and others.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the factors that play into whether or not tree farming is a lucrative business venture. We will review some strategies you could consider deploying to increase your chances of success.

When Are Tree Farms Profitable?

Tree Farms are a form of Commercial Farming have large upfront costs and can take a long time to become profitable. Upfront costs include the cost of land, trees, equipment, and labor.

It can take years for a tree farm to become established and begin producing a product that can be sold. Even after the farm is established, it can take many more years for the trees to mature to a size where they are ready to be harvested.

For all these reasons, it is important to have a clear understanding of the costs involved in setting up and running a tree farm, as well as the potential revenue that can be generated. Only then can you make an informed decision about whether or not starting a tree farm is the right choice for you.

Types of Tree Farms

There are many different types of tree farms, each with its own set of costs and potential profits.

The most common types of tree farms are Christmas tree farms, Timber farms, and Orchards.

Christmas tree farms are the most labor-intensive type of tree farm since they require regular maintenance such as pruning, shearing, and shaping. These activities must be carried out throughout the year to ensure a good crop of Christmas trees. Such farms are generally small operations that are only open for business during the months leading up to Christmas.

Another popular type of tree farm is a timberland or forestry operation. These are large farms that grow trees for the lumber industry. These farms are usually located in rural areas and can be quite expensive to set up and maintain.

Timber farms are generally less labor-intensive than Christmas tree farms, but they have a longer timeline to profitability since it takes many years for the trees to mature and be ready for harvest.

The third type of tree farm is an Orchard. Orchards are farms that grow fruit trees, such as apple or pear trees. These farms are generally smaller than timberland operations and are located in areas with a moderate climate.

Also, the product from an orchard – fresh fruit – is perishable and has a shorter shelf life than lumber, so orchards generally require more effort to maintain than other types of tree farms and they require quick and easy access to their target market.

Factors That Affect the Profitability of a Tree Farm

There are many factors that affect the profitability of tree farms. As we mentioned earlier, the cost of land is a major factor. The size and type of farm also play a role in profitability.

Smaller farms are usually less expensive to set up and maintain, but they may not produce as much revenue as larger farms thus making it difficult to offset fixed costs.

The location of the farm is also important. Farms located in rural areas are often less expensive to set up, but they may have higher shipping costs. Farms located in urban areas are more expensive to set up, but they usually have lower shipping costs.

The type of trees you grow also affects profitability. Christmas tree farms generally grow evergreen trees, such as pine, fir, or spruce trees. These trees are relatively easy to grow and are in high demand during the Christmas season.

Timberland operations usually grow hardwood trees, such as oak, maple, or cherry trees. These trees take longer to mature but are in high demand by the lumber industry.

Finally, the price of lumber and shipping costs are also important factors to consider. The price of lumber fluctuates depending on the demand for lumber. Shipping costs can be high if the farm is located in a remote area.

Increasing the Profitability of a Tree Farm

There are several strategies you can use to increase the profitability of your tree farm. One strategy is to diversify the types of trees you grow. Growing both evergreen and hardwood trees can increase your revenue because you will be able to sell your product all year round.

Another strategy is to choose a farm location that has low shipping costs. This can be accomplished by choosing a farm located near a major highway or port.

A third strategy is to invest in equipment that will increase the efficiency of your farm. This might include a tree harvester or a mechanized planting system.


Tree farms can be profitable, but there are many factors to consider before starting one. The cost of land, trees, and equipment are major upfront costs that can take years to recoup.

The type of tree farm, the location of the farm, and the type of trees you grow are all important factors that affect profitability.

Diversifying your products, choosing a farm location with low shipping costs, and investing in efficient equipment are also strategies to increase profitability. Before starting a tree farm, be sure to do your research and understand all the costs and risks involved.