Real Trees Make "Scents"
Information provided by the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association
Have you ever wondered where all the real Christmas trees on your local lots come from? Standard-quality live Christmas trees are grown on plantations and shipped around the country in batches around Thanksgiving time. It takes many years to produce a fresh Christmas tree that meets our high standards.
All live Christmas trees begin their life in a nursery. There, seeds are taken from the cones of mature trees, planted and covered with straw. The best real Christmas trees are covered with a shade cloth to prevent frost or sun damage.
After three years, the strongest Fraser Fir or White Pine seedlings are ready to be moved to "line-out beds" for further growth. This allows the seedlings to grow without competition from larger trees. When all nearby trees are the same size, they have an equal opportunity for sunlight and water. The Christmas tree seedlings will stay in these growing beds for two years or until they are strong enough to be transplanted into the field.
During the next seven to eight years, the growing Christmas trees remain in the field. After the trees reach a height of three feet they are sheared for the first time. The best Christmas tree farmers spend considerable time and effort to shape each tree to perfection.
During the shearing process, the top of the tree is cut back. By slowing upward growth, the live Christmas tree will branch out more quickly. As the branches fill out, the farmer will trim them to shape the premium trees to give them a fuller appearance.
Shearing each Christmas tree is only one management practice for the attentive farmer. Growers of the best Christmas trees use Integrated Pest Management, a system of pest control methods based on sophisticated horticultural practices and careful pesticide use..