Christmas trees and cut greenery

Small or large and imposing, but very much regional. The preferences are quite different when it comes to the Christmas tree. The tradition of a natural tree for the festive season still holds true. Nevertheless, the effort required to harvest a marketable tree should not be underestimated.

At a glance

The perfect green Christmas tree through optimum nutrient management

The demands of consumers on their annual Christmas tree are very high. A good tiered structure as well as the right coloring and shaping are essential for the desired positive appearance of the tree.

  • Quality assurance is the be-all and end-all for Christmas tree crops.
  • Potassium improves frost resistance.
  • Golden to yellow pointed needles indicate magnesium deficiency.
  • Drought induces deficiency of micronutrients.
Importance and benefit

Christmas tree and cut greenery crops

When selling Christmas trees and cut greenery, the appearance and exterior quality of the goods are of utmost importance. Christmas trees can only develop their typical growth habit, twigs, and needles uniformly and attractively if the nutrient supply and the pH value of the soil ensure balanced and needs-based nutrition of the trees throughout the entire growing season. This must be accomplished in a targeted manner for each season.

Before starting a new Christmas tree or cut greenery plantation, a soil test should be carried out.

Recommended pH value of the soil: 

  • Spruce, Douglas fir, pine: 4.5-5.0
  • Fir: 5.0-6.5


Recommended soil content of potassium and magnesium:

Soil type


(mg/ 100g soil)


(mg/ 100g soil)

light soils 8-15 5-10
middle to heavy soils 15-20 10-15

The most important nutrients for Christmas trees and cut greenery

Potassium and magnesium boost tree and needle quality

If there is an insufficient supply of potassium and magnesium, Christmas tree and cut greenery crops often suffer from nutrient deficiency symptoms, which can reduce sales revenues. This can be prevented by targeted fertilization.

Potassium - for better resistance

  • Improves plant resistance to diseases, pests, and frost.
  • Increases resistance to drought and stress from harvesting, transportation, and storage.
  • Decisively improves internal and external woody plant quality.
  • Reduces the failure rate.

Magnesium - for green needles

  • Ensures proper growth and a healthy appearance.
  • Guarantees dense needling with larger needles and attractive, mostly green-blue coloration.
  • Reduces the failure rate.

Sulfur - for better nitrogen use efficiency

  • Sulfur activates important enzymes in energy and fatty acid metabolism. It is essential for the synthesis of sulfur-containing amino acids, influences overall protein synthesis, and therefore has a positive impact on yield.
  • An optimal sulfur supply leads to efficient nitrogen utilization. If there is a lack of sulfur, the nitrogen taken up cannot be converted into proteins and a signal is sent to the roots to take up less nitrogen. Therefore, the plant's need for sulfur must be met for optimal nitrogen utilization.
  • Sulfur enables the plant to maintain its physiological processes optimally even under drought stress and to avoid or at least minimize yield losses. Sulfur is a component of the metabolic product glutathione, which, as an antioxidant, renders oxygen radicals formed during drought stress harmless and therefore prevents necrosis of the leaves. 

Recommended minimum content of nutrients (% DM)

Tree N P K Ca Mg
Spruce 1.5 0.13 0.5 0.25 0.1
Fir 1.5 0.13 0.5 0.3 0.1
Pine 1.5 0.12 0.45 0.25 0.1
Fertilizer recommendation

Fertilizer recommendations for Christmas trees and cut greenery

Fertilizer is applied in order to maintain the fertility of the soil so that its natural yield potential can be protected over the long term. This requires the maintenance of an optimal nutrient content in the soil. Nutrients removed with the harvest have to be replaced through an adequate application of fertilizer. Together with the replacement of removed nutrients adjustments have to be added for site specific losses (e.g., leaching or erosion).
The total removal of a plant results from the nutrient uptake of the main crop (e.g., grain, tubers, or beets) and the uptake of harvest residues (e.g., straw, leaves). If the harvest residues remain on the field, only the removed nutrients by the main crops have to be replaced.

In Christmas trees and cut greenery crops, the nutrients required should be applied in sulfate form, since they are among the chloride-sensitive crops.

Recommendation for soil fertilization

The following fertilization recommendations are calculated on the nutrient removal of the main crop product based on optimum soil nutrient contents (in Germany soil content class "C"). Supplements for site-specific losses due to leaching, fixation, or erosion are not included.

For a balanced nutrition of conifers and for ensuring optimal nutrient levels in the soil, the following amounts of fertilizer are recommended:

Potassium and magnesium applications before planting the crops

  • 500-800 kg/ha PatentKALI®
  • 300-500 kg/ha Kaliumsulfat
  • 200-300 kg/ha  ESTA® Kieserit GRAN.

Potassium and magnesium applications for crop fertilization at two-year intervals

  • 200-300 kg/ha PatentKALI®
  • 100-200 kg/ha Kaliumsulfat
  • 100-150 kg/ha ESTA® Kieserit GRAN.nbsp;

Product recommendation

Recommendation for foliar fertilization

For severe magnesium deficiency

2-5% epsoTOP solution as a foliar spray to quickly eliminate magnesium deficiency.

Deficiency Symptoms

Deficiency Symptoms ABC