NC State Extension

Growing Christmas Trees in North Carolina

Fraser Fir cone

Fraser Fir cone

This publication provides basic information to assist individuals in growing Christmas trees. It attempts to address the wide range of production, marketing, and business issues that may be encountered in such a venture. Please consult other references to obtain more information concerning a specific topic.

Commercial Christmas tree production requires a sufficient amount of suitable land. It also requires sizable amounts of labor and capital. Labor will be needed periodically, and special materials are almost certain to be needed seasonally for several years. Therefore, a potential grower should start with sufficient capital reserves to cover costs until income is realized from the sale of trees.

Virginia Pine cone

Virginia Pine cone

Much of the normal cultural work, such as mowing, shearing, and pest control, must be done within the growing season, and frequently when the weather is hot or disagreeable. In contrast, harvesting is in late autumn or early winter, sometimes in bitter cold weather. In brief, the profitable production of Christmas trees requires intensive care with precise timing from planting to harvest. It is not an easy get-rich-quick scheme, but rather a long-term (5-10 years) business venture requiring a multitude of skills.

Unless professional advice is secured at the start, newcomers are advised to “grow into” rather than “buy into” the Christmas tree business. Efficient production of a few quality trees is more likely to prove successful than large-scale production of poor quality trees. At present there are no obvious limits on the number of quality trees North Carolina growers may sell. North Carolina growers are within 500 miles of approximately half the nation’s population, so fresh trees can usually be delivered overnight to compete in a significant regional market.

Contents

Eastern White Pine cone

Eastern White Pine cone

  • Part 1: Characteristics of Some Evergreen Trees
    Fraser Fir, Eastern White Pine, Virginia Pine, Redcedar, Leyland Cypress, Other Species
  • Part 2: Establishing a Christmas Tree Plantation
    Species Selection, Site Selection, Plantation Layout, Site Preparation, Selecting the Planting Stock, Growing Your Own Planting Stock, Outplanting the Trees
  • Part 3: Pest Management in Christmas Trees
    Integrated Pest Management, Treatment of Common Christmas Tree Pests in North Carolina, Insects, Diseases, Protection From Animals
  • Part 4 contains information about
    • Christmas Tree Fertility
    • Best Management Practices to Protect Water Quality and the Environment
      Farm Road Construction, Field Borders and Stream Buffers, Low-Impact Site Preparation, Pest Scouting, Pesticide Alternatives, Groundcover Management, Nutrient Management, Pesticide Handling, Storage, and Disposal, Wellhead Protection, Summary
    • Shaping of Christmas Trees
      Firs and Spruces, White Pine, Virginia Pine, Redcedar, and Leyland Cypress
    • Groundcover Management
      Mechanical Mowing, Chemical Application
  • Part 5 contains information about
    • Harvesting
    • Marketing
    • Record Keeping
    • Investment Planning
    • Taxes
    • Assistance Available
    • Summary
    • Christmas Tree Terms
    • Appendix

Page Last Updated: 5 years ago
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