Growing   Christmas Trees
in North Carolina

Fraser Fir
Eastern White Pine
Virginia Pine
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.

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.

You may download a printable version of the entire document, in PDF format for Acrobat.


Edited by Craig R. McKinley, Extension Forestry Specialist
Contributing Authors: Jeffrey H. Owen, Area Extension Forestry Specialist; Edwin J. Jones, Extension Leader, Forestry; James E. Shelton, Associate Professor, Soil Science; Jill R. Sidebottom, Extension Forestry Specialist; Fred E. Whitfield, Extension Forestry Specialist (Retired); Craig R. McKinley, Extension Forestry Specialist

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina
May 1997