The Pacific Northwest—particularly western Washington and Oregon—has historically been a major Christmas tree production region. Today, it produces about a third of the Christmas trees sold each year in America.
In general, there are two types of growers: large-scale farms producing trees for the wholesale market and smaller, often family-run operations for the choose-and-cut market.
Christmas trees around the United States:
- The top Christmas tree-producing states are: Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington.
- The average growing time is seven years, but it can take as few as four and as many as 15 to reach the typical height of 6 to 7 feet.
(National Christmas Tree Association)
Christmas trees around the Pacific Northwest:
- There are some 295,000 acres of Christmas trees across the country, including 8,000 acres in Washington.
- In 2017, the last year for which numbers are available, Washington harvested 535,000 with a sales value of $15.7 million.
- Noble fir makes up most Christmas tree production in the Pacific Northwest, accounting for 54 percent. Douglas fir makes up 32 percent. Grand fir is 5 percent. Nordmann/Turkish fir is 4 percent. All others—Fraser fir, Concolor fir, Shasta fir, Silver fir, Balsam fir, Colorado blue, Norway spruce—make up 2 percent.
- Counties with the greatest Christmas tree production in Washington are: Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, and Thurston.
- Washington has upward of 60 Christmas tree growers.
- More than 90 percent of all Pacific Northwest Christmas trees are exported out of the region. California is the largest market, with 45 percent. Other western states make up 10 percent. Gulf states are 9 percent. Atlantic states are 4 percent. Mexico is 16 percent. Overseas markets include Japan, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
(Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association)
Oh, Christmas trees! (Winter 2022)
Meet Mr. Christmas Tree (Winter 2013)
Gary Chastagner’s lifetime industry impact award (WSU News, November 11, 2020)
A Coug grows Christmas tree for the White House
Christmas tree research at WSU Puyallup
Growing Christmas Trees in the Pacific Northwest guide (PDF)
Clark County Extension offers info on Christmas tree-growing in southwest Washington
A brief history of Christmas trees (History.com)