ACRES OF TREES
2017 TREE HARVEST
- Oregon - 45,000 acres
- Washington - 8,000 acres
- Nationally - 295,000 acres
- Oregon - 4.7 million trees
- Canada - 1.9 million trees (2016-based on exports)
- Washington - 535,000 trees
- California - 138,800 trees
- Idaho - 31,800 trees
PRODUCTION OF TREES IN
- Oregon - $120.6 million
- Washington - $15.7 million
- Idaho - not available
- California - $4.8 million
- Canada - $43.1 million (2016)
- Douglas-fir - 32 percent
- Noble fir - 54 percent
- Grand fir - 5 percent
- Nordmann/Turkish fir - 4 percent
- All others - 2 percent (Fraser fir, Nordmann fir,
Concolor fir, Shasta fir, Silver fir, Balsam fir, Turkish fir,
Colorado blue and Norway spruce)
COUNTIES WITH GREATEST
PRODUCTION IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
AVERAGE YEARS TO PRODUCE A
6-FOOT TREE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
- Oregon - Benton, Clackamas, Marion, Polk,
Yamhill and Linn
- Washington - Kitsap, Lewis, Mason and
- Douglas-fir - 7 years
- Grand fir - 8 years
- Noble fir - 9 years
- Concolor fir - 12 years
NUMBER OF GROWERS IN
- Oregon - 300
- Washington - 62
EXPORT OF PACIFIC
- Some 92 percent of all Pacific Northwest Christmas trees are
exported out of the region
- California is the Pacific Northwest's largest market
- Overseas and foreign markets include: Japan, China, Hong
Kong, Philippines, Hawaii,
Alaska, Mexico, Guam and Puerto Rico
PACIFIC NORTHWEST CHRISTMAS TREES
- California - 45 percent
- Other Western - 10 percent (MT, ID, WY, NV, UT, AZ, NM, CO, AK,
- Gulf States - 9 percent (OK, TX, AR, LA, TN, MS, AL)
- Mexico - 16 percent (23 percent of all Oregon Douglas-fir
are shipped to Mexico)
- Atlantic States - 4 percent (MD, DE, WV, VA, NC, SC, GA,
NOTE: Because it is impossible to compile exact statistics on
harvest, acreage, sales and ranking of production by states, all
figures are estimates.
* Based on consumer surveys commissioned by the National
Christmas Tree Association.
GROWING, HARVESTING AND ENJOYING CHRISTMAS TREES
Christmas trees are now a crop much as is cotton, wheat,
soybeans or grass seed and the product offered to the consumer is
of far better quality than the often thin and scraggly offerings of
yesteryear. Today's Christmas trees in the Pacific Northwest are
either planted row-on-row on neat farms in the valley flatlands and
rolling hills or, in regions where the terrain is rugged, in random
fashion. Regardless of the planting system - farms or "natural"
stands - the trees are given the same intensive cultural
Acreages range from as large as more than ten thousand acres to as
small as four to five acres. The Pacific Northwest (primarily
Oregon and Washington) is not only the largest, but also the finest
growing area in the nation.
Here, where the summers are long and sunny and the winters are
moist and cold, literally thousands of acres are planted to the
species of trees preferred by buyers around the world.
The Pacific Northwest is the world's largest producer of
Douglas-fir, but is also known for its Noble and Grand fir as well
as several varieties of pine and various other less well known
Of the estimated 15 million trees harvested by American growers
during the 2017 Christmas season, more than 5.4 million came from
the farms and natural stands of the Pacific Northwest
Soon after Thanksgiving their trees appear on street corner lots,
nurseries, garden supply stores and department stores across the
nation as well as foreign countries.
Vendors at these outlets represent a wide range of interests.
Often they are professionals who market trees every year, but there
will also be a goodly sprinkling of Boy Scout troops, service
clubs, church groups and on-holiday college students who see
Christmas tree retailing as a way to fatten thin bank
In addition to corner lots and other retail vendors, thousands of
Christmas trees are sold from Choose & Cut farms across the
Selecting and cutting a Christmas tree at a nearby Choose &
Cut farm is an activity enjoyed by families of all types and income
Choose & Cut operators make the outing even more enjoyable by
providing such extras as free hot chocolate, coffee, candy canes
and the like.
Some also offer the free use of saws, will carry the tree to the
vehicle and see that it is safely mounted for transportation.
Nor is it unusual to see a Choose & Cut operator offer free
rides on horse-drawn wagons, a visit with Santa Claus as well as a
well-stocked gift shop.
Some families enjoy such outings so much that on their annual
visit they will not only select a tree for that Christmas season,
but in addition tag an immature tree, which will be theirs when it
grows to the proper height.
In succeeding years families have been know to visit "their" tree
during the summer to check its progress.
TREE CULTURING AND HARVESTING
Growing Christmas trees in the new century is a full-time job, a
job for the experts. While the end product appears only briefly,
growing the trees - the so-called cultural work of fertilizing,
pruning, shearing, etc. - is a never-ending task, just as it is
with any agricultural endeavor. Harvest is, of course, the busiest
time of the year for the grower. Literally thousands of workers
descend on the fields of mature trees to cut and haul them to
staging areas where they are loaded on trucks to be carried to
their ultimate destination.
Growers try exceedingly hard to see that their trees are fresh
when they reach the marketplace. The goal of every grower is to see
that "trees cut today are on the highway today," en route to
customers within hours of when they were harvested.
To speed the harvest process some large growers use helicopters to
pick up slings of freshly cut trees and fly them to the staging
area for loading on trucks.
Numerous Pacific Northwest Christmas tree growers take yet another
step to see that their product is fresh when it arrives.
They transport their trees in refrigerated vans, which keep the
trees at the proper temperature when crossing mountain ranges or
traveling in southern sub-tropic regions where winter temperatures
are above normal.
At the final destination trees may be stored in cool rooms until
delivered as needed to replenish supplies at street corner
Growers also encourage tree lot operators to keep their trees
fresh by sheltering them from sun and desiccating winds and to
display trees in water stands.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT OF GROWING CHRISTMAS TREES
Christmas tree growers, as stewards of the land, are devout
environmentalists. Often their trees are grown on marginal lands
which are unsuitable for other crops. Christmas trees help hold the
soil and prevent erosion or loss of top soil. Hundreds of thousands
of dollars are spent each year on research and development projects
by numerous Christmas tree associations.
These projects have in many ways made growers keenly aware of
their responsibility to the environment.
They find satisfaction in knowledge that due to photosynthesis
Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. Studies by
the National Christmas Tree Association show that a single acre of
Christmas trees will each day produce the daily oxygen requirement
for 18 people.
With an estimated one million acres of Christmas trees in the
United States this translates into the production of oxygen for 18
million people per day. And, for every Christmas tree harvested
each year an estimated three new seedlings are planted.
Since the mid 1970s when it became apparent that the nation's
landfills would reach capacity, growers have supported and
encouraged recycling of Christmas trees.
As with those involved in successful pick-up, chipping and
compost-producing efforts, growers want to "give the earth a gift"
by returning chipped Christmas trees to the soil.
In addition to programs offered by cities, independent recycling
efforts provide the secondary benefit of refilling the coffers of
service clubs, churches and youth organizations which charge a
minimal amount for picking up and chipping trees into mulch for
While such programs are not necessarily applicable to every
community, Christmas trees have also been found useful as sand and
soil erosion barriers on beaches. Trees have also been lowered into
ponds to provide cover for small fish and other aquatic life.