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Local Wholesale Christmas Tree Growers Shipping Many Trees off the Mountain, One Feels ‘Positive’ About Season

A family takes home a tree for the holidays in a previous year. Photo by Ken Ketchie
A family takes home a tree for the holidays in a previous year. Photo by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 26, 2014. Jack Wiseman, who operates Christmas Greens in Newland, began baling wholesale trees at the first of November. Wiseman said his operation will “constantly” ship trees out of the High Country from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.

While it’s obviously too early to tell how the “real” Christmas tree market will do this winter, Wiseman said he has a feeling that it will be a “little more positive” than in previous years.

“I don’t think I have every seen this many trees going out of the mountains as I have this early so far this year,” Wiseman said. “A lot of the local guys are loading up their trailers and going to retail lots all over the country.”

Wiseman added that he thinks the supply is lower than in past years. He noted that people who couldn’t sell their six-to-seven foot trees during the Great Recession don’t have a market for their trees that have now grown too big for most of the living rooms across the nation.

“There’s no market for 10 to 11 foot trees,” Wiseman said.

According to the USDA, the North Carolina Christmas tree industry is ranked second in the nation, behind only Oregon. In 2011, Christmas tree sales in North Carolina exceeded $75 million, and the top five producing counties in the state include Ashe, Avery and Watauga.

Some other Christmas tree facts from the N.C. Christmas Tree Association:

  • North Carolina growers produce over 20 percent of the real Christmas trees in the United States
  • North Carolina has over 300 Christmas Tree growers, with approximately 37 million trees growing on over 32,000 acres
  • North Carolina Fraser Fir has been judged Grand Champion through the National Christmas Tree Association and chosen for the White House twelve times (more than any other species)….1971, 1973, 1982, 1984 , 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012
  • The 2012 While House Tree came from Peak Farms in Jefferson
  • Christmas trees from Cool Springs Nursery in Banner Elk were chosen for the residence of the vice president
  • It takes as long as 12 years to grow a tree to an average retail height of 6-7 feet
  • The average 6-7 foot Fraser fir Christmas tree has been visited by the grower more than 100 times during its life
  • North Carolina has an estimated 50 million Fraser fir Christmas trees growing on over 25,000 acres.
  • Fraser fir represents over 96 percent of all species grown in North Carolina and 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 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.

See more with this USDA document: