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Christmas Tree Research and Forest Genetics

Christmas Tree Production

The Christmas Tree Research Program is the longest running program at the Center. In addition to screening provenances of many native and non-native commercial Christmas tree species, this program played an instrumental role in introducing eldarica pine (Pinus brutia var. eldarica)to New Mexico. Work on both genetics and plantation management has resulted in the shortening of rotation ages of many Christmas tree species in some cases by more than 50%. Further, the Center has published numerous extension publications, regional and national papers on the outcomes of the research program as well as hosting several conferences and workshops for Christmas tree producers in the state. Recent efforts are focused on analyzing progeny tests of several of the native and non-native species being grown at the Mora Research Center and forest management options for sustained yield production of naturally occurring Christmas trees.

Christmas Tree Marketing

In 2001, statewide consumer and retailer surveys were conducted to provide information that will help New Mexico Christmas Tree growers capture a larger percentage of Christmas tree sales within the state as well as help New Mexico Christmas tree retailers provide the most desirable Christmas trees for New Mexico consumers. The results of these surveys are being used to aid growers and retailers to select species, set product specification targets, and devise marketing strategies for their products within the state.

Christmas Tree Research Publications

Fisher, J.T. 1994. Eldarica pine: Russia's gift to New Mexico's forests. New Mexico Journal of Science 34: 74-79.

Harrington, J.T. 1994. Growing Christmas trees in New Mexico. New Mexico Journal of Science 34: 80-88.

Fisher, J.T. and J.G. Mexal. 1990. Risk management in Christmas tree establishment in the Southwest. Christmas Trees 18: 8-12.

Ayala, Omar. 1989. Eldarica pine (Pinus eldarica Medw.) Christmas tree response to shearing treatments, M.S. Thesis, New Mexico State University.

Fisher, J.T., J.G. Mexal and E. Herrera. 1989. Purchase, care and planting of live Christmas trees. NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Guide H-421.

Gorman, W.D., R.E. Grassberger Jr., J.T. Fisher, J.G. Mexal, G.A. Welsh, T. Clevenger and R.R. Lansford. 1989. Economic assessment of growing 6-7 year Scots pine and white fir plantation Christmas trees in New Mexico. New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 745. 41 p.

Phillips, R., J. G. Mexal and L.M. English. 1989. Controlling pine tip moth on eldarica pine Christmas trees in southeastern New Mexico. NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Guide H-423, 2p.

Fisher, J.T. and J.G. Mexal. 1988. Establishment of Christmas trees: Risk reduction in simple terms In: Proc. New Mexico Christmas Tree Growers. Conf. Feb. 12-13, 1988, Roswell, NM. Pp. 65-76.

Phillips, R., J.G. Mexal and L.M. English. 1988. Control of Nantucket pine tip moth in eldarica pine Christmas tree plantations. In: Proc. New Mexico Christmas Tree Grower's Conf. Feb. 12-13, 1988. Roswell, NM. 9p.

Fisher, J.T. and G.A. Fancher. 1986. Site evaluation and species selection for New Mexico Christmas tree production. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 30-Oct. 1, 1986. Las Cruces, NM. Pp.1-13

Phillips, R., G.L. Nielsen and J.G. Mexal. 1986. Nantucket pine tip moth of afghan pine Christmas trees in southern New Mexico. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 30-Oct. 1, 1986. Las Cruces, NM. Pp. 55-61.

Neumann, R.W. and J.T. Fisher. 1985. Weed control in eldarica pine plantations. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 17-18, 1985. Las Cruces, NM. Pp. 89-95.

Phillips, R. and J.T. Fisher. 1985. Sewage sludge fertilization of Pinus eldarica Christmas tree plantations. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 17-18, 1985. Las Cruces, NM. Pp. 38-45.

White, R. and J.T. Fisher. 1985. Irrigating Afghan pines. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 17-18, 1985. Las Cruces, NM. Pp. 27-37.

Fisher, J.T. and R.W. White. 1984. Fertilizer and water requirements of Pinus eldarica. In: Proc. Southwest Christmas Tree Industry: Research Needs and Commercial Opportunities Conf. May 11, 1984, Tucson, Arizona. Pp. 19-27.

Herrera, E., F.B. Widmoyer, and J.T. Fisher. 1981. Buying a living Christmas Tree. NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Guide H-421.

Matta, F.B., J.T. Fisher and J.M. Montano. 1981. Influence of mulching on growth and development of Christmas trees. New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station Res. Rep. 448. 4 p.

Montano, J., F.B. Widmoyer, E. Herrera and J.T Fisher. 1981. Culture and harvesting of wilding Christmas trees. NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Guide H-416.

Wildermuth, T. and J.T. Fisher. 1981. Guidelines for growing and Marketing Christmas Trees in New Mexico. Pub. State & Private Forestry, USDA-Forest Service. 44 p.

Cryer, D.H. 1980. Soil Analysis: A method to determine potential Christmas tree productivity in the mountain valleys of Mora County. M.S. Thesis, New Mexico State University.

Herrera, E. and J.M. Montano. 1980. Pruning and shearing Christmas trees . NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Guide H-409.

Herrera, E. and J.M. Montano. 1980. Site selection and preparation for Christmas tree plantings. NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Guide H-410.

Herrera, E., and J.M. Montano. 1980. Pesticides and fertilizers in growing Christmas trees. NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Guide H-411.

Montano, J.M., J.T. Fisher and F.B. Widmoyer. 1980. Cut Christmas tree properties of Afghan pine as compared to traditional species. Christmas Trees 4: 8-10.

Widmoyer, F.B. and J.T. Fisher. 1979. Production of Afghanistan Christmas Trees. Christmas Trees 7 (2): 4-7.

Widmoyer, F.B. 1984. History of Pinus Eldarica in the United States. In: Proc. Southwest Christmas Tree Industry Research Needs and Commercial Opportunities Symposium, May 11, 1984. Tucson, AZ. Pp 13-16

Montano, J., F.B. Widmoyer, E. Herrera, J.T. Fisher. 1981. Culture and Harvesting of wildling Christmas Trees. NMSU Cooperative Extension Service Guide H-416.

Fisher, J.T., J.G. Mexal. 1988. Establishment of christmas Trees Risk and Reduction in Simple Terms. In: Proc. New Mexico Christmas Tree Grower's Conf. Feb. 12-13, 1988. Roswell, NM.

Ryder-White, J. 1985. Mycorrhization of Pines. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 17-18, 1985. Las Cruces, NM. Pp. 50-53.

Manuchia, D. 1986. Germination and Seedling Quality. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 30-Oct. 1, 1986. Las Cruces, NM. Pp.24-30

Lee, R.D. 1986. Weed Control in Pines. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 30-Oct. 1, 1986. Las Cruces, NM. Pp.47-50

Widmoyer, F.B. 1986. Keeping Afghan Trees Fresh. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sep. 30-Oct. 1, 1986. Las Cruces, NM. Pp.74-76

Fisher, J.T., M.F. Davault. 1978. Testing New Mexico Conifer Seed Sources for Christmas Tree Production. Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association Bulletin No. 140. Pp9-10

Forest Genetics

The New Mexico Tree Improvement and Forestation Plan was begun in 1977 to address declines in production of wood products during the preceding 20 years. This decline in productivity, particularly on state and private lands, was largely attributed to an increase in the number of acres of unstocked and understocked forest lands. A combination of fire, over-exploitation, and insufficient forest management appeared to be the primary factors contributing to the decrease in productive acreage. The primary goal of the 1977 Tree Improvement and Forestation Plan was to develop reliable sources of genetically superior seed and planting stock for use on state and private lands. Improvement in traits such as survival, growth rate, and form was to be achieved through individual tree selection, seed source testing, seed orchard establishment, and breeding. In 1978 the Mora research Center embarked on the Tree Improvement Program - a cooperative effort with the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department- Forestry Division and the U.S.D.A. - Forest Service - that continues to contribute to our knowledge of forest genetics. Primarily focused on ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Laws.), Douglas fir (pseodotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franko) and Engelmann spruce (Picea englemanii Parry]) - native conifer species important to New Mexico's Christmas tree and forest industries - this program has expanded to incorporate other native woody plant species.Over 12 provenance and progeny tests are being conducted as part of this program. In addition, over 25 species have been evaluated for underlying variability to propagation and/or container nursery culture treatments. This program has resulted in the selection of a large number of superior stands. From these, substantial quantities of seed have been collected, much of which has been utilized for the establishment of progeny tests and incorporated in the seedling program. Currently, emphasis is being placed on evaluating the underlying variability of several riparian and wildlife browse species to various sexual and asexual propagation techniques.

Forest Genetics Research Publications

Harrington, J.T., and J.T. Fisher. 1997. "New Mexico Azul" and "New Mexico Verde" selections of white fir. HortScience 32: 1306-1307.

Harrington, J.T., J.T. Fisher, P.A. Glass, and G. Blackwell. 1996. New Mexico Tree Improvement Program Guide; volume I: Background Information. N.M. Agric. Exp. Sta. CES Tech. Rep. 25, 24p.

Harrington, J.T., J.T. Fisher, P.A. Glass, and G. Blackwell. 1996. New Mexico Tree Improvement Program Guide; volume 2: Technical Information. N.M. Agric. Exp. Sta. CES Tech. Rep. 26, 44p.

Deardorff, D.C., R.D. Kirmse, B. Ross, R. Phillips, J.T. Fisher, J. Mexal and R.F. Hooks. 1986. Expanded New Mexico woody biomass species trials and genetic improvement. New Mexico Research and Development Institute, NMRDI 2-73-4610, 115 p.

Fancher, G.A. and J.T. Fisher. 1986. Scots pine provenances for New Mexico tree production. In: Proc. Afghan Pine and Christmas Tree Symposium, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 1986. Las Cruces, NM. Pp. 14-23.

Neumann, R.W., J.T. Fisher and G. Blackwell. 1983. New Mexico Tree Improvement Guide. NM. Div. of State Forestry, Santa Fe, NM. 105 p.