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On The Farm

N.C. Christmas Trees: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

A farmer and Extension agent inspect a Christmas tree at a Christmas tree farm in the North Carolina mountains. Play Video

In the words of Clark W. Griswold, Jr., “We’re kicking off our fun, old-fashioned family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols.”

A timeless tradition for many families each December, picking the perfect Christmas tree often signals the start of the holiday season.

In North Carolina, we grow more than 4 million Christmas trees across roughly 40,000 acres annually (No. 2 in the country). Gifting the world with millions of trees each year, North Carolina is pretty much the North Pole of Christmas trees.

North Carolina produces about 1 of every 4 real Christmas trees in the U.S.

And with over 850 Christmas tree farms, you don’t have to walk out into the woods and cut it down with your bare hands Griswold-style (we have choose-and-cut farms that can help you).

The most popular species of Christmas tree in North Carolina is Fraser fir. The “Cadillac of Christmas trees,” according to Johnny Wishon of Wishon Farms, Fraser firs make up around 95% of the state’s industry.

Fraser firs are grown mostly in far-western counties like Ashe, Avery and Watauga. Folks in the Piedmont and coastal plain regions of North Carolina are still able to make the season bright with Christmas tree species suited to lower elevations: Leyland cypress, white pine, Virginia pine, eastern redcedar and Arizona cypress cultivars like ‘Blue Ice’ or ‘Carolina Sapphire.’

Did you know that your Christmas tree is already 6 to 10 years old when you bring it home?

Join NC State Extension’s Christmas tree expert, Jeff Owen, and journey into the world of North Carolina Christmas trees for a behind-the-scenes look at how NC State helps farmers grow, harvest and sell these seasonal delights. Consider this permission to peek before Christmas!

Visit NC State Extension’s Christmas tree site and follow the team on Facebook for more helpful holiday tips.

Extra Tree Trimmings

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