What You Didn’t Know About Christmas Tree Farms
There’s nothing quite like the fresh smell of pine that fills your home after the Christmas tree is finally up and decorated for the year. Whether your family has a tradition of cutting down your own tree each year, or going to a local tree farm to pick one out, there is no doubt that the Christmas tree is not only a popular holiday icon, but also a long lasting Christmas tradition, dating all the way back to the 16th century.
Did you know that the tree in your living room took an average of 7 years to grow? According to the National Christmas Tree Association, for every Christmas tree that is harvested, 1 to 3 seeds are planted in its place the next spring.
There are currently 350 million Christmas Trees growing on farms in the U.S. in all 50 states. The top producing states are: Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington. Each year, 25-30 million trees are sold. That’s enough Christmas trees to equal the circumference of the earth with some left over!
A man by the name of McGalliard started the first Christmas tree farm in 1901, when he planted 25,000 Norway Spruce on his farm in New Jersey. That one farm was the starting point to what has become a billion dollar industry that employees over 100,000 people.
While those numbers might seem impressive, the truth is that more and more Christmas tree farms are diminishing each year.
“It is a becoming a lost art,” says Callie Taylor whose family owns a farm in West Virginia.
The Taylor family spends all year preparing their trees to be ready by the holiday season, planting 8,000 new trees each year.
They keep busy throughout the spring and summer spraying the trees in order to keep insects away. The trees are also sheared at least once a year, sometimes twice depending on who will be buying them, to make sure they have the best shape possible by the time they reach your home.
Just like any other farmer, the weather plays a large role in the growth of the Taylor family trees. Callie says that the lack of water from drought has resulted in them irrigating certain species, and whenever they get a hard freeze, their freshly planted trees suffer greatly.
Artificial trees are becoming more and more popular, but you can’t beat the fresh pine smell and there’s nothing more exciting than being able to pick out the “one,” when you choose a live tree.
When you choose a live tree, you are also choosing to support local farmers and their families.
We often only think of farmers as those who grow our food, but in truth there are so many different types of farming. Christmas tree farms are a prime example of how the agriculture industry is involved in more than just the food on our table.