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William Clark trims the trunk of a fraser fir tree.  Photo by NCSu Student Media

William Clark trims the trunk of a fraser fir tree Nov. 26. “I’ve been working at the market for 20 years,” Clark said, “we come down here from Ashe county for three weeks a year and we try to sell 1,500 trees.” Photo by NCSU Student media

Christmas trees may be a whimsical addition to holiday decorations, but the Christmas tree industry is a serious business. Lining the highways of western North Carolina are more than 25,000 acres of Christmas tree farms, full of rows of firs that are ready to be harvested, shipped off and sold Thanksgiving weekend and after for the holidays.

“The North Carolina Department of Agriculture reports that last year there were over $85 million in Christmas tree receipts,” said Jennifer Greene, the executive director of the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association.

North Carolina is second in the nation for Christmas tree production, behind only Oregon, mainly due to the state’s monopoly on what is considered by many to be the perfect species of Christmas tree — the Fraser fir, indigenous to the state. About 5 million are harvested each year.”

And no one knows this better than NC State University’s Christmas Tree Research and Extension program!

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