The Perfect Christmas Tree

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Ready or not, Christmas is here. Nothing commands the Christmas spirit in a home like the presence of a real Christmas tree. The unique shape and incredible smell trigger the senses and create memories like nothing else.

Many species of trees make wonderful Christmas trees but the Fraser Fir is well suited for industry demands. Named for John Fraser, a Scottish botanist who explored the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the late 1700’s, the Fraser Fir is the most popular Christmas tree in North America and makes a valuable economic contribution to our state. The tree is native to the southern Appalachians with elevations of 3,000 feet or more. It has a pyramidal shape, strong branching, excellent needle retention, dark blue-green color with silvery tones, and breath-taking fragrance that contributes to its popularity. Fraser Firs are shipped to every state in the United States as well as the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and Japan. North Carolina has an estimated 50 million Fraser Firs growing on over 25 thousand acres. Fraser Firs represent over 90 percent of all Christmas tree species grown in North Carolina. This ranks North Carolina second in the nation in number of Christmas trees harvested.

If you would like to have a real tree but feel like having a tree cut for a few week of enjoyment is a waste, don’t fret and consider a living Christmas tree. This option has its roots balled and wrapped in burlap so you can plant it in the yard after the holidays. Species grown locally suitable for planting outdoors include Leyland Cypress, Red Cedar, White Pine, Virginia Pine, and Thuja ‘Green Giant’. Living Christmas trees do not need to sit in water. The slow melt of ice chips placed on top of the root ball will be absorbed into the soil providing sufficient water. Keep in mind; these trees perform best if time indoors is kept to a minimum. Gradual reconditioning of the tree to the outdoor climate will result in a more successful planting.

A live tree benefits more than just your holiday memories. By purchasing a live tree you are investing in our state and demonstrating good environmental stewardship. Christmas tree fields support turkey, quail, songbirds, rabbits, and deer. Real trees absorb carbon dioxide and release fresh oxygen into the atmosphere. After the holidays fresh cut trees are recycled into wind and water barriers at the beach and riverbeds to fight sand and soil erosion. When sunk in ponds, they provide excellent refuge and feeding areas for fish. Robeson County Solid Waste will collect live trees at all 20 of the county collection centers until January 9 at no extra charge to the customer. The trees will be chipped and ground into mulch.

For more information, please contact Mack Johnson, Extension Horticultural Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.