Evergreen trees are grown and marketed throughout the world specifically for the Christmas tree industry. Varieties differ in fragrance, cone size, coloration, needle style and stature. Tree farmers try to match their crops to consumer preferences, which can be fickle. Spruce, pine and fir varieties are common on tree lots throughout the United Sates. Varying growth habits and characteristics affect maturation rates, causing some species to reach cutting size before others.
Colorado blue spruce varieties are slow-growing trees with frosty blue pin-sharp needles. These trees grow comfortably in higher elevations approximately 6,000 feet above sea level. Rate of growth is estimated at 1 foot or less each year, averaging 7 to 10 years before maturation. The average Colorado blue spruce cutting size is 6 to 7 feet tall.
Scotch and Virginia pines are adaptable trees that grow in most North American regions, having a tolerance for adverse environmental conditions. They have a moderate growth rate averaging 1 foot per year, bringing these varieties into maturity from 6 to 8 years. Pines grow more rapidly than most other evergreens.
Christmas trees most in demand on American tree lots are Fraser, Balsam and Douglas firs. Fir trees are intolerant of poor environmental conditions and need more attention than other varieties. Proper maintenance brings these 6- to 7-foot cut specimens into maturity in 10 years or less.
Trees grow naturally in different areas due to different requirements. When these needs are met, their maturity rate is predictable. Adversity delays growth. Those growing in drought areas could have a longer maturation rate due to insufficient rainfall. Water is one of the most important growth factors to maturing young trees. Address irrigation considerations before planting. Soil tests determine land quality and fertility, which are important to Fraser fir trees. Amend soil as necessary. Planting density can encroach on maturity. More trees planted per square acre means fewer nutrients available to the single specimen, which may retard growth.
Christmas Trees sell in different shapes, sizes and varieties. Most varieties grown under good conditions reach their cutting maturity in 5 to 10 years. Growers agree this height is usually between 5 and 10 feet tall. Investments of time, labor and minimal expense will expedite growth rate of trees as well as quality. Christmas tree varieties can grow quickly and make nice additions to the backyard. Planting several could begin a homegrown family tradition.