The economics of growing and selling Christmas trees

Evergreen economy

Christmas trees have been part of winter holiday traditions for hundreds of years. American consumers consistently spend more than one billion dollars on Christmas trees every holiday season. In 2019, 26.2 million real Christmas trees were sold in the United States.

UPDATED DECEMBER 7, 2020

Tree growers

There are around 300,000 acres in production for growing Christmas trees in the United States, according to the USDA. The majority of American Christmas trees are grown in Oregon and North Carolina. Only two counties harvested more than one million trees in 2017.

Over half of the trees grown in the United States are harvested in only seven counties — three in North Carolina, three in Oregon, and one in Michigan. The top producer, Ashe County in North Carolina, harvested almost two million trees in 2017.

Tree prices

Average Christmas tree prices remained about the same in 2019 as they were the year before, after skyrocketing between 2013 and 2016. On average, it takes about seven years for a Christmas tree to grow to typical height. Fewer plantings during the 2007/2008 recession resulted in a shortage in trees.

Mean tree price

Total spending

Real or fake

Artificial Christmas tree sales have increased in recent years. China is the leading source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Purchase locations

In 2019, most U.S. consumers purchased their Christmas trees at chain stores or choose-and-cut farms.

Best sellers

Fir trees are an overwhelming favorite, with Fraser Firs leading the pack. Around 41 percent of Christmas trees sold in 2014 were Fraser Firs.

= 100,000 Christmas trees

Fraser Fir
7.67 million

Noble Fir
4.88 million

Grand Fir
567 thousand

Douglas Fir
3.93 million

Scotch Pine
468 thousand

Balsam Fir
778 thousand

Colorado Blue Spruce
244 thousand

White Pine
212 thousand

The White House Christmas Tree, an 18.5-foot Fraser Fir from Oregon, arrives outside the White House  

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture; National Christmas Tree Association; U.S. Department of Commerce; U.S. Census Bureau
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