This time of year, the Christmas tree is a ubiquitous symbol for the holiday season and all that it represents: family, tradition, gift-giving, childhood excitement and gratitude, just to name a few. It also fosters a type of introspection about the natural world that surrounds us. After all, bringing a living tree indoors provides a certain intimacy with nature that we’re generally removed from these days—even if it is only for a month. During this season, the Christmas tree becomes the family icon, the focal point and the gathering place for fellowship.
But in our on-demand, tech-driven lives moving at warp speed, few people even pause to think about these beautiful trees outside of December. For 11 months a year, the Christmas tree is barely an afterthought, which is a shame. These trees provide incredible environmental and economic values that impact every state in America.
As a North Carolina-based business, Forest2Market appreciates the significant value, beauty and opportunity that exist within the many diverse forests that span across our state. The mountains of North Carolina, for instance, are home to a vibrant Fraser Fir Christmas tree industry. North Carolina has approximately 1,300 Fraser Fir Christmas tree growers operating on an estimated 40,000 acres. North Carolina Fraser fir Christmas trees are also one of the most popular Christmas trees in North America, and they are shipped into every state in the US as well as the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, Japan and other spots around the world.
Source: North Carolina Christmas Tree Association
But many other states also have thriving Christmas tree industries and, per the National Christmas Tree Association, there are a number of reasons to support American Christmas tree farmers by purchasing real trees during the holiday season.
11 Fascinating Facts about Christmas Trees*
- There are approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold in the US every year.
- There are close to 350 million real Christmas trees currently growing on Christmas tree farms in the US alone, all planted by farmers.
- North American real Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states and Canada. Eighty percent of artificial trees worldwide are manufactured in China, according to the US Commerce Department.
- Real Trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead.
- There are more than 4,000 local Christmas tree recycling programs throughout the US.
- For every real Christmas tree harvested, 1 to 3 seedlings are planted the following spring.
- There are about 350,000 acres in production for growing Christmas trees in the US; much of it preserving green space and preventing deforestation.
- There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas trees in the US, and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.
- It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of typical height (6 - 7 feet) or as little as 4 years, but the average growing time is 7 years.
- The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.
- The most common Christmas tree species are: balsam fir, Douglas-fir, Fraser fir, noble fir, Scotch pine, Virginia pine and white pine.
*Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) and local Christmas Tree professionals.