States that produce the most Christmas trees
Nothing beats a real Christmas tree, from the crisp evergreen scent to the process of choosing the perfect Tannenbaum to don with glistening ornaments come December. Each year in the United States, about 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold, and there are almost 350 million Christmas trees currently growing on farms across the country.
The tradition of chopping down and purchasing an authentic Christmas tree from a local farm makes for an unforgettable annual family outing, but also benefits the environment. While artificial trees may be made of non-biodegradable plastics and could contain harmful chemicals, real Christmas trees are a renewable resource and can even be recycled. What’s more, for every real Christmas tree sold, one to three more seedlings are planted in the spring.
Christmas tree farming is also a lucrative business and creates more than 100,000 full-time or part-time jobs. The nation’s 15,000 Christmas tree farms not only fill an important economic need, but also preserve miles upon miles of sacred green space and wildlife.
Stacker compiled data from the most recent Federal Census of Agriculture of 2012 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and ranked each state by the total number of trees cut. Wyoming did not produce any Christmas trees in 2012 while New Mexico and Nevada did not report enough information, so they are not included in the list.
Read on to find out which states grow the most trees, and which four states produce more than a million.
Total trees cut: 24
Total farms: 4
Total acres in production: 10
Last year, the governor’s mansion in Alaska was home to a Sitka spruce tree from the Tongass National Forest in Ketchikan, Alaska. Both the Tongass National Forest and the city and borough of Juneau allow people to select and cut down their own Christmas trees during the holiday season.
Total trees cut: 300
Total farms: 6
Total acres in production: 15
Arizona residents with a coveted Christmas tree tag are eligible to harvest their own Christmas trees, but the process to get a tag is lengthy. If you wish to purchase a tag, you must visit a designated forest office, each of which has a limited amount of tags to give out.
#45. North Dakota
Total trees cut: 735
Total farms: 10
Total acres in production: Data withheld to avoid disclosing figures for individual farms
The number of Christmas tree growers in North Dakota has been declining, but state residents still enjoy the time-old tradition of chopping down the perfect tree with family. Though the state experienced a drought last year, Christmas tree production generally wasn’t affected.
Total trees cut: 2,007
Total farms: 20
Total acres in production: 52
Although Hawaii may not be the typical winter wonderland that comes to mind, Hawaiians still relish the tradition of having fresh Christmas trees. However, the islands only have a handful of Christmas tree farms, and many trees get shipped to the state from the mainland.
Total trees cut: 2,525
Total farms: 26
Total acres in production: 75
People with a permit in Utah can cut their own Christmas trees, so long as they are subalpine fir trees and measure 20 feet or shorter. The permit is issued by the U.S. Forest Service and is good right until Christmas Day.
#42. South Dakota
Total trees cut: 2,620
Total farms: 9
Total acres in production: 52
Ninety Christmas trees are the centerpiece of one of South Dakota’s most-loved Christmas traditions. At "Christmas at the Capitol” in Pierre, South Dakota, visitors can observe the dozens of spectacularly decorated trees that have been dolled up by nonprofits, businesses, and communities.
Total trees cut: 5,806
Total farms: 29
Total acres in production: 227
In the late 1970s, the Arkansas Christmas Tree Growers Association was born, and today, it operates an annual meeting and workshop. The association also purchases tags, seedlings, and caps for its members. Though its website is dormant for most of the year, it pops up every year as the autumn season rolls in.
Total trees cut: 7,627
Total farms: 31
Total acres in production: 318
The Agriculture Department has warned people in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia that an invasive insect species could be hiding in Christmas trees this year and could lay eggs if brought home. The spotted lantern flies are native to China, but Christmas tree farmers are reportedly keeping a watchful eye out for the pests.
Total trees cut: 7,902
Total farms: 105
Total acres in production: 3,413
Golden Gate Canyon State Park near Denver is offering residents the opportunity to chop down their own Christmas trees this year. Those interested must purchase a permit, and can choose between several tree varieties, including Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and Rocky Mountain juniper trees.
Total trees cut: 7,987
Total farms: 120
Total acres in production: 588
Last year, Christmas tree farms felt the pressure from Kentucky families—one farm even reported selling out of its 1,000 trees in just three days. The day after Thanksgiving typically proves to be a busy one for most Christmas tree farmers in the state, so if you’re set on a Kentucky-bred pine, make sure to tag your pick early.2018 All rights reserved.