The Christmas Tree growers of NC are in full swing all summer into the cutting and shipping season of November. NC trees are shipped all over the country beginning the second week of November.
Christmas Tree Genetics Research and Extension at NC State are among the largest and best programs of their kind in the nation. They are improving the growth, quality and pest resistance of Christmas tree species important to North Carolina including Fraser fir, Virginia pine, Eastern white pine and Eastern red cedar. It also screens new species and is conducting genetic conservation efforts for Fraser fir, a globally threatened species.
Recently, John Frampton and the team took Tom Gower, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources Head to visit during a peak week. They visited 6 tree farms in less than 24 hours: Smokey Holler Tree Farm – Laurel Springs, Hudler Tree Farm – West Jefferson, Peak Farms – Jefferson, Sturgill Tree Farms – Jefferson, Kathy Shore Nursery – Sparta and Bottomley Evergreens and Farms – Glade Creek.
The Bottomley Christmas greenery distribution center in Sparta is the largest in the country; one of their Christmas tree distribution centers in Elk Valley, VA where they will send out 450,000 Christmas trees this year.
Facts from the NC Christmas Tree Association:
- North Carolina has an estimated 50 million Fraser fir Christmas trees growing on over 25,000 acres.
- Fraser fir represents over 90% of all species grown in North Carolina.
- Fraser fir is grown in the far Western North Carolina counties which include Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey.
- There are over 1,600 North Carolina growers.
- The North Carolina Christmas Tree Industry is ranked second in the nation in number of trees harvested and cash receipts.
- North Carolina produces over 19% of the Real Christmas Trees in the U.S.
- The North Carolina Fraser fir has been judged the Nation’s best through a contest sponsored by the National Christmas Tree Association and chosen for the official White House Christmas tree 12 times (more than any other species)….1971, 1973, 1982, 1984, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012.
- The North Carolina Fraser fir Christmas tree is the most popular Christmas tree in North America and is shipped into every state in the U.S. as well as the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, Japan and other points all over the world.
- The North Carolina Fraser fir has soft, pleasant-to-touch needles, incomparable needle retention, long lasting aroma, and more pliable yet stronger branches for even the heaviest ornaments.
- There are approximately 400 Choose and Cut Christmas tree farms in North Carolina.