We currently have 14 different Seed Orchards in six species. The orchards are located on our farm in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania. We currently have orchards in Balsam Fir, Canaan Fir, Colorado Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Scotch Pine and are starting a Concolor Fir Orchard. All of our orchards were set using the most superior trees within our Christmas Tree fields. After collecting seed from our own orchards, we could easily see that our selected orchards provided us with a more superior tree than that of the wild stands and even our selected wild stand picks. Through the years, we realized not all of the trees were the high quality we desired, even though they were a great improvement over the wild stands. At that point, we decided to do more testing to acquire a more consistent tree.
At this time, we have started our extensive testing process, which is a constantly ongoing process. The procedure begins by numbering each tree within the seed orchard. We then collect the seed from each individual tree and keep it separate. The seed is then planted in the seedbed, transplant bed, and Christmas tree field separately. At each point, it is labeled and mapped with the individual parent tree number. It is then grown to Christmas tree maturity and evaluated each year during the process. Characteristics are evaluated for form, texture, density, growth rate, color, shear ability, time of bud break (frost resistant or frost prone), resistance to disease and insects, and the ability to grow in variable sites.
030/031- A Scotch Pine orchard that’s origin is from Spanish Guadarrama. The orchard trees were selected from the best 2% of 6-8 foot trees in our plantation. The selection was based on form, color, shearability and texture.
115 – The origin for this Douglas Fir seed orchard is Lincoln, NM. The seed was collected from the parent trees in the wild stands in New Mexico and then grown to 8 feet. The orchard was selected for color, form, texture and it is a later bud breaker.
240 – This Fraser Fir orchard tree’s origin is the BalsamMountains. It was selected from the best 10% of trees in the field and is a slightly fuller tree with thinner branches resulting in a more uniform tree. The 240 Frasers are slightly faster growing, even on poor sites, but have slightly weaker branches. We have done progeny tests on this orchard, eliminating 25% of the parent trees, to rid it of undesirable traits.
241 – This orchard is from a single parent plant from the Fraser Fir 240 orchard. We have it out in several field tests and it is proving to be an outstanding tree with the ability to grow on sites that are more marginal. We have grown the offspring to 8 feet and selected the best 1% for an orchard.
245 – This orchard of Fraser Fir is from the best parent trees from the 240 orchard. Progeny test have been done on all the trees in the 240 orchard and only the best 35-40% made it to this orchard.
260 – This Fraser Fir orchard tree’s origin is Roan Mountain, NC. It is a 2nd generation orchard from the finest parent trees. Seed was collected from the 3 best parent plants we found in RoanMountain and the offspring from that collection were grown to 8 feet. Then we selected the best 4-5% of those trees for the orchard. These trees have proven to have incredible superiority, producing a heavier needle and branched tree, better quality and color and requires less shearing. It is slightly slower growing than our 240 orchard but produces 95+% premium trees at harvest. We have started progeny tests on this orchard.
320 – Our Balsam Fir orchard origin is unknown, but we suspect its source is Maine. It was chosen for its later bud break.
355 – Our Canaan Fir orchard source is the Canaan Valley, WV. The seed was grown to 8 feet then the best 10% were selected for the orchard based on form, texture, and shearability.
620 – This Colorado Blue Spruce orchard was started by our father and its source is suspected to be from San Isabel – west of the Denver-PikesPeak area. It is a later bud breaker than San Juan sources and is almost 100% Blue Shiners.
650 – This is a 2nd generation Blue Spruce orchard with its sources from San Juan, Sante Fe, and Kaibab. The orchard trees were selected at 8 feet for blue shiners, faster growth rate, form, body and texture.
670 - This is a 2nd generation Blue Spruce orchard from our 620 orchard. We are just starting to get seed from these trees. The trees for this orchard were selected on better form, color and growth rate.
Berkey's Nursery, 44251 Rogers Rd, PO Box 215, Spartansburg, PA 16434