N.C. Christmas tree crop for 2009 one of best ever

Published 4:07 pm Monday, December 7, 2009

North Carolinians looking for a real Christmas tree should have plenty to choose from this year because the crop is excellent, N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said today.

We have one of the best crops weve ever had, Troxler said at a news conference at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Both the selection and the quality are very, very good. Cool weather and adequate rainfall have combined to help our growers harvest and handle the freshest trees possible.

North Carolinas 2009 Christmas tree harvest should top 5 million trees from more than 1,500 growers, Troxler said.

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More than 96 percent of N.C. Christmas trees are Fraser firs, which are grown in the mountains. Farmers in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain grow pines, cedars and other varieties well-suited to warmer climates.

Customers can find trees at choose-and-cut farms, nurseries, garden centers, farmers markets and retailers across the state.&bsp; To find a choose-and-cut tree farm or retailer, log on to www.ncfarmfresh.com or request a directory by calling the Marketing Division at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (919) 733-7887.

Choosing a real Christmas tree can become a great family tradition, Troxler said. Plus, real Christmas trees are renewable. Each tree that is harvested is replaced with one or more new trees. And after the holidays, trees can be recycled as mulch or used as habitat for wildlife and fish.

The state was second in the nation in cash receipts from Christmas trees in 2008, with sales of $100 million.