History of Christmas Trees
The tradition of decorating tree branches began thousands of years, as far back as ancient Rome and Egypt. Historians believe the tradition started as a way of celebrating spring’s longer and warmer days.
Fast forward to 16th-century Germany, and you will begin seeing the early remanence of the Christmas tree era. Legend has it that Martin Luther, the famous leader of the Protestant Reformation, wanted to recreate the night sky by adding candles to the tree. The tradition eventually spread to London but did not become popular until the 19th century.
In America, early puritan beliefs kept Christmas trees from becoming popular initially. However, that began to change when Irish and German immigrants settled in America. But it wasn’t until Queen Victoria and Prince Albert displayed their tree in a popular newspaper in 1848 that Americans truly accepted the tradition.
Christmas Tree Statistics
All 50 states and Canada grow Christmas trees. The top Christmas tree producers are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington.
On Average, U.S. consumers will purchase 25 -30 million real trees annually. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans bought 21 million Christmas trees in 2021 at an average price of $69.50
China manufactures nearly 80% of the world’s artificial trees (U.S. Commerce Department).
How many trees have been artificial vs. real throughout the years?
Artificial trees have become increasingly popular because they are convenient and cost-effective compared to buying a live tree yearly. While perhaps more cost-effective, they are not as kind to the environment. Fake trees require more resources and chemical processing. Additionally, they are usually not recyclable. From 2004 to 2018, sales of artificial trees increased from 9% to 23.6%.
How long does it take for a Christmas tree to grow 6-7+ feet?
Well, it depends on a few factors. The type of tree, climate, location, and the kind of care the tree receives matter. The type of tree is a factor as well. The most common pine trees that families use for Christmas trees are white pine, Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Concolor Fir, Leland Cypress, Fraser Fir, Balsam, Eastern White Pine, and Eastern Red Cedar. The fastest of those trees takes around four years to grow to six feet. The slowest will take 15+ years.
How do Christmas Tree Farms work?
Currently, around 15,000 Christmas tree farms in the United States grow about 350 million trees yearly. Farms can work in two ways: the farm can create an experience around selecting the family Christmas tree, or farms can grow trees and sell and transport them to retail stores and centers. Both types of farms require the right tools and heavy equipment to plant, nurture and harvest the trees.
Typically, farmers purchase seedlings from wholesale distribution nurseries specializing in their production. Only a third of seedlings mature into full-grown trees. Farmers will plant the seedlings and nurture them into adulthood by carefully considering how much water, nutrients, and sun each tree receives. Most crop failure occurs because of drought, disease, or insects.
The profit time for farms is short. The month-long period begins following Thanksgiving and extends to the weekend before Christmas.
Farms that want to create an experience when choosing a tree offer different types of activities right on the farm. It can vary from something as simple as walking to find your tree with hot chocolate or an entire weekend of festivities involving hayrides, bounce houses, holiday characters, photo booths, live music, or gingerbread house making. The sky is the limit to how much a business will go to create an experience.
These attractions benefit the local community, but the farmer must still be profitable, so they must sell and ship trees around the region.
How do you ship Christmas Trees?
In most cases, tree farms and businesses will contact a freight broker who knows the how-to’s of Christmas tree shipping. PLS Logistics Services knows all the logistics of delivering trees to retail stores, as we help ship around 600 Christmas trees each season. That’s 20 tons of Christmas trees! Depending on the pick-up and destination, carriers use a flatbed or reefer truck to transport the trees. Although trees are grown outside in various temperatures, evergreen trees last longer in cooler climates, so when transporting them to a warmer climate, you may need the temperature control of a reefer or refrigerated truck. However, if you only need to transport from one cool climate to another within short distances, then a shipper will use a flatbed. Distance is another factor in determining what type of transportation mode. You don’t want to transport cut trees long distances in a flatbed. The trees deteriorate due to wind, rain, and freezing temperatures. Road debris, such as ice, salt, and cinders, can also damage the trees.
Let PLS Logistics Services help ship your Christmas trees this season. Get your free freight quote now. Compare the best rates from our vetted network of 55,000 carriers and schedule a pick-up today.