Special Report

This State Produces the Most Christmas Trees

Between 25 million and 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. each year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Even more artificial trees, mostly made in China, are also sold. In preparation for future Christmas seasons, some 350 million trees are now growing, likely many in North Carolina, the state that produces the most Christmas trees.

The National Retail Federation reports that Americans will spend about $1,000 for the holidays this year. About $650 of that will be spent on gifts. Another $250 will be spent on decorations, including a tree. PickYourOwnChristmasTree.org puts the average price of a tree at $81. Of course, that varies by size and type of tree. Fraser firs are the most popular, followed by Noble firs and Douglas firs.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture reports data on cultivated Christmas trees. A total of just over 15,000 farms, covering 295,000 acres, produce trees. These farms produced 15 million trees in 2017, the most recent period reported. (If you’re looking for some extra work this holiday season, this retailer is hiring the most people for the holidays.)

To determine the states producing the most Christmas trees, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the USDA report and ranked states by the number of cultivated Christmas trees cut in 2017. Supplemental data on the number of Christmas tree farms and total acreage also came from the USDA. Data is from 2017, unless it was unavailable, in which case 2012 data was used.

Two states produce the most Christmas trees by far. North Carolina produced 4,714,298 trees, and Oregon produced 4,031,864 trees. The third state, Michigan, was far behind at 1,551,185 trees. (Can’t wait for Christmas? These are the best holiday movies to watch until Christmas is here.)

What will happen to the trees after the holiday? Since the trees hold a considerable amount of carbon, environmentalists hope people will recycle them — either by turning them into wood chips and mulch or returning them to a forest. 

Poor choices include burning the trees, which sends the carbon back to the atmosphere, or dumping them in a landfill. The latter causes the creation of methane, a gas which, according to Popular Science, does more than 20 times as much damage to global temperatures as carbon dioxide does.

Click here to see the state that produces the most Christmas trees