How long does a Christmas tree take to grow? The answer depends on the species, climate and other environmental conditions. Most Christmas trees sold in the U.S. are not cut from forests but are instead grown on farms around the country. You might want to know just how long the growers on a Christmas tree farm take to nurture your fave evergreen trees (or any other tree species) from seedling to ready-for-sale.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, it takes an average of 7 years for a Christmas tree to reach the typical height when it is cut and sold. If that isn't enough information for you, we have the scoop on growing times for the best Christmas trees in the U.S.
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So forget about ordering an artificial tree from Amazon this year. Read on to learn more about tree seedlings, saplings, grow times and everything you need to know about buying a real Christmas tree! Pine trees are not your only option.
Types of Christmas trees
Several species of evergreens are commonly grown and sold as Christmas trees. Among the most popular Christmas trees sold in the U.S. is the Douglas fir, which is blue-green in color and has a pyramidal shape. Native to western North America, the leaves of the Douglas fir give off a sweet scent when crushed. Despite its name, this species is not a true fir.
Another popular choice is the Fraser fir, which is prized because of how well it retains its needles and for its pleasant and long-lasting scent. This real Christmas tree's coloring is described as a dark blue-green. If you prefer a less intense scent, consider a Leyland cypress. If you are looking for a tree that can handle heavy ornaments, a Scotch or Virginia pine might be the species for you.
Other types of evergreens used as Christmas trees include the blue spruce, which, as its name suggests, is prized for its blue tint, as well as white pine and Arizona cypress. Balsam fir is the species associated with a traditional Christmas scent.
The Christmas tree varieties available in your area may vary. Some farms favor pine trees or Colorado blue spruces, while others have Canaan firs, Eastern red cedars and other Christmas-y options.
Christmas tree growth rate
The average Christmas tree height is 6 to 7 feet. How fast does a Christmas tree grow? It can take anywhere between 4 and 15 years for a tree to reach that size. For example, both the Douglas fir and the Fraser fir take 7 to 10 years to grow to a height of 6 to 7 feet. This is considered an average growth rate.
By contrast, Virginia pine has a slow growth rate because it adds less than a foot of new growth a year. The Leyland cypress, on the other hand, is a fast-growing species of Christmas tree, as its height increases by 3 to 4 feet every year with the right conditions. The Arizona cypress also falls in the fast-growing category.
Even though grow times are relatively constant among tree species, some factors can affect the rate. These factors include drainage, care and soil content.
Where do Christmas trees grow?
Christmas trees are grown in many parts of the country. The four states that produce the most Christmas trees are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Different regions are known for different species. For example, many of the Fraser firs sold in the U.S. are grown in North Carolina. Douglas firs are associated with the Pacific Northwest.
Michigan, which ranks third in terms of Christmas trees harvested annually, has the distinction of being the state that grows the greatest variety of Christmas trees. This is thanks to its climate and the composition of its soil. Blue spruce, Douglas fir and Fraser fir are just a few of the evergreen species grown in Michigan.
Don’t worry if your state isn’t one of the top producers. You can find fresh, live Xmas trees just about everywhere during the holiday season.
Now that you know about Christmas tree grow times, you're ready to become a master farmer. OK, so maybe you're not on a pro grower level yet. Don't stress. That's what Christmas tree farms are for!