Harvesting Trees

Harvesting Trees

For many Americans right now the Ghost of Christmas Past looks like a big dead tree shedding needles on the living room rug. In the next week that coniferous cadaver will be dragged outside and left at the curb. Even though that tree was purchased on the sidewalk, though, that’s not where it came from.

In 2009 (the last year for which USDA has figures) nearly 2,700 U.S. tree farms sold 12.9 million Christmas trees valued at $249.8 million. Christmas trees are grown for sale in 45 U.S states, including: Oregon (more than 4.9 million), North Carolina (2.8 million), Michigan (1.2 million), Pennsylvania (812,000) and Wisconsin (619,000). Christmas trees covered 174,000 acres of the United States. Fraser fir, Noble fir and Douglas fir, are bestsellers, followed by Balsam fir and Scotch pine. North Carolina is the leading producer of Fraser fir, and Oregon is the leading producer of Noble fir and Douglas fir. An estimated 60 to 70 million Christmas tree seedlings are planted each year, and the industry says it employs 100,000 people. Figures for Canadian tree exports to the U.S. aren’t readily available, but NAFTA seems to have had a bigger impact on Mexican imports of Canadian and U.S. trees.

We wish you merry mulching and a tree-free New Year.


National Christmas Tree Association website

USDA Census of Agriculture Census of Horticultural Specialties 2009, (see Table 16. Cut Christmas Trees Sold and To Be Sold: 2009)

Ag Marketing Resource Center, Christmas Trees


Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-iio

Photo (“Christmas at Eastern Market”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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