Oregon Christmas Trees C

Christmas Tree Benefits
Economic, Social, Environmental
ommercial Christmas tree production began in Oregon in the 1940s. By
the mid-1950s, management practices such as shearing had been adopted.
Christmas trees are a woody perennial crop grown in 7- to 10-year rota-
tions. Christmas tree seedlings are specifically bred for their purpose and differ
from seedlings selected for timber production or from native forest seedlings.
They are well adapted to low fertility soils and generally are not irrigated.
Harvested acreage and number of trees harvested over the last decade
have been fairly stable. Manufactured trees and a trend toward households
without any Christmas tree have reduced the domestic fresh tree market.
New markets, particularly in Mexico, have grown and replaced historic
domestic markets.
In Oregon, this industry is dominated by 8–10 very large growers,
but there are many smaller growers as well. Ninety-two percent of
Pacific Northwest trees are sold outside their states of origin.
California remains the major market for Oregon-grown
Christmas trees, and there are significant exports to the Pacific
Rim nations and to Mexico. The Mexican market absorbs
almost one Douglas-fir Christmas tree in four
harvested in Oregon. Japan, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico also buy Oregon-grown
Christmas trees. The preferred conifer for Christmas trees
varies by region.
Oregon Christmas Trees
Retail and distribution chains provide a market for larger growers. Oregon
trees are sold directly by the grower in local retail lots or may be shipped to
lots operated in other states. Many small growers sell their trees directly to
consumers through u-cut operations at the plantations. Wreath and related
greenery businesses can be important to growers of all sizes.
Cooperative research and outreach efforts have benefited the Christmas
tree industry in the following ways:
n Improve the genetics of Christmas trees, resulting in trees that develop
good, marketable color with reduced fertilization and trees with desirable
foliage display and reduced shearing requirements. Identifying genetic
resistance to insect pests is an ongoing research goal. Insect-resistant trees
require fewer pesticides. ❦ $
n Reduce shearing costs by as much as $400–$600 per acre over the rotation
by studying growth hormones that control growth of top and side shoots,
and enable labeling of a growth regulator for Christmas trees. $
n Benefit water quality and grower profitability by determining precise fertilization regimens to produce marketable Christmas trees. Other studies
have focused on the effects of soil compaction and long-term herbicide
use. ❦ $
n Control weeds and erosion potential with cover crops. Weeds compete for
scarce water resources. Water-starved trees develop poor color; in response,
less experienced growers may apply unnecessary fertilizer. Sites with steep
slopes or erosive soils benefit most from cover cropping. ❦
n Benefit farm workers from continued employment during a very
late-season harvest.  $
Benefits key
$ Economic benefit
❦ Environmental benefit
Social benefit
Oregon Christmas Trees
Family farms
Acres harvested Acres in production Trees harvested Value of sales
Oregon’s national ranking Share of domestic market
8 million
$122.6 million
Economic data in this section from the 2008 Census of Agriculture. http://www.agcensus.
usda.gov and http://oain.oregonstate.edu/
Farm Receipts
>$30 million
$20–$25 million
<$10 million
Produced by the Department of Horticulture and Extension Service,
Oregon State University.
© 2009 Oregon State University. Extension work is a cooperative program
of Oregon State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Oregon
counties. Oregon State University Extension Service offers educational
programs, activities, and materials without discrimination based on age, color,
disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race,
religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Oregon State University
Extension Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer. EM 8981 M