Christmas Tree Tips

— Written By and last updated by
 About 6 million Christmas trees will be harvested this year in North Carolina. Research plots at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River show growers how shearing practices effect the growth of the mature trees.

About 6 million Christmas trees will be harvested this year in North Carolina. Research plots at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River show growers how shearing practices effect the growth of the mature trees.

North Carolina grows a lot of Christmas trees. Each year, North Carolina farmers market 75 million dollars’ worth of Christmas trees. In fact, North Carolina farmers produce 20% of all the Christmas trees sold in the United States. Oregon is the only state that grows more trees than North Carolina.

Christmas tree farms are found throughout Western North Carolina, but Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, and Allegheny are the four top producing counties. Since 1973, these four counties have sent a total of 12 Christmas trees to the White House. The last NC tree to be on display at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was in 2012. This tree was an 18 and a half foot tall Frasier fir that came from Peak Farms in Ashe County.

There are a lot of good reasons to live in Caldwell County, and our close proximity to world-class Christmas tree farms is just another good reason. We can easily make a quick trip up the mountain to get a tree from one of the choose and cut farms. If you are not sure where to find a choose and cut farm, just visit NCChristmastrees.com. Besides listing choose and cut farms, the site also lists Christmas tree lots and wholesale farms. This site is maintained by the North Carolina Christmas Tree Growers Association.

However you get your Christmas tree, there are a few tips that will improve your live Christmas tree experience. Before bringing the tree inside the house, give it a real good shake. Shaking the tree will dislodge dead needles, pollen, and other debris from the tree. As a final step, look for any unwanted hitchhikers that may be on the tree. Occasionally, there may be a few little insect critters hiding in the tree.

Once you have shaken out the tree, use a saw to cut off the bottom half inch of the trunk. This is important because it improves the tree’s water uptake. A live Christmas tree can “drink” a gallon of water per day. After the first several days, trees will slow their uptake to a quart of water per day. It is important to not let the tree run out of water.

I should mention that several studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of Christmas tree preservatives. Jeff Owen, Area Specialized Forestry and Christmas Tree Agent, published a study evaluating seven commercial preservatives and two home remedies. His research clearly demonstrated that plain tap water performs significantly better than any commercial product or home remedy. This research agrees with studies that have been conducted at the Caldwell County Extension Center.

The holidays are a special time of year. A live Christmas tree is a fun way to bring the family together. If you have not put up your tree yet, there is still plenty of time to enjoy one.