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Christmas trees are a part of agriculture that are grown in tree farms.
Three seedlings are planted in place of a single harvested Christmas tree. More than 15,000 farms grow these trees in the US and a large number of people are employed in this field.
Previously, the Christmas trees were developed on less nutrient soil in abandoned fields. Now, most of them are cultivated on a large scale on the farms and about 1,000,000 ac (404685.6 ha) of fields in the US are utilized for their production.
Trees contribute largely to the environment by decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide and liberating more oxygen, which is a necessary element for sustaining life. This eventually helps in reducing the effects of global warming. A single acre of Christmas trees farming land can liberate a sufficient amount of oxygen for 18 people. Real trees can be easily recycled, which can help in providing nutrients to the soil and bind it to prevent soil erosion. Also, their involvement in residential fires is extremely low.
The two most common species of Christmas trees are Scotch pine and Virginia pine that are grown in Oklahoma. Trees remain fresh and sustain for a longer period if they are purchased from the same place they are grown.
More than 34 million Christmas trees are grown every year in the US, and approximately 95% of the trees are purchased directly from the farms. Christmas tree farmers face a hard time growing these trees and making them the exact way their customers want.
If you are enjoying the read, then don't forget to check out California culture facts and types of coconuts, here on Kidadl.
Much before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Christmas tree history began, and in the year 1510, the Christmas tree with decorations was observed for the first time in Riga, Latvia. Estonia also claims to have had the first Christmas tree ever. It was the Germans who first started this tradition of decorating Christmas trees and the first written reference to Christmas trees appeared here.
Edward Johnson, the assistant of Thomas Edison, first brought up the idea in 1882 to decorate a real Christmas tree with electric lights. After that, in 1900, most Christmas trees were illuminated with colorful lights in the stores. In 1913, Mayor Carter H. Harrison first lit the Christmas tree in Grant Park, Chicago, thus making it official to use Christmas tree lights.
The commercial viability of Christmas trees came to be known from the 1850s when a farmer brought trees to sell to New York City from the Catskill mountains. The trend of planting Christmas trees specifically to sell them goes back to the year 1901, when, in Trenton, New Jersey, a 25000 trees Christmas tree farm was started. However, the trend took a while to catch on. People were still obtaining trees from the woods and forests well into the 1930s and 1940s. It was after World War II that the scenario changed. By the 1950s, Christmas tree farms were sprouting all across the country, and to meet customer requirements, farmers were even pruning and shearing their trees. The need for Christmas tree farms continued to grow into the 1960s and 1970s as the market for live trees boomed. The 1980s saw a lull in this growth as artificial trees began to gain popularity among the public. As the years passed Christmas tree farms found their footing and by the beginning of the 21st century, 98% of all the natural Christmas trees sold across the globe could be traced back to tree farms.
Some other interesting snippets include the fact that Franklin Pierce was the first President who brought a Christmas tree to the White House in 1856. Later, President Roosevelt banned the tree from the White House for the various environmental hazards. The tradition was later reinstated and now the National Christmas Tree Association provides this tree to the President every year to display in the blue room.
Christmas tree farms are highly profitable. They do not require a lot of maintenance and can bring a hefty inflow of cash every year. It requires about eight years to grow a Christmas tree farm. In fact, after cutting off, the Christmas trees can regrow if planted again. It could take 4-15 years to grow according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Their typical height is about 6-7 ft (1.5-2 m) which requires around seven years to grow and 200-1500 trees can be planted on each acre.
Mark Carr started the first Christmas tree retail lot in the US in 1851. Real Christmas trees cost more than $74 and this price is increasing day by day owing to the maintenance, which includes shearing young trees and weed control. Balsam fir, Fraser fir, Douglas fir, noble fir, and Virginia pine are some of the popular trees grown on the Christmas tree farm. The noteworthy Christmas tree-producing states are North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A couple of seedlings are planted for every real Christmas tree harvested. Either the seedlings or transplants are purchased by the growers, who focus on the Christmas tree shape and the quality. Helicopters lift harvested Christmas trees from farms and drop them in trucks to deliver them to the various stores. About 1300 growers in North Caroline are involved in the business of Christmas trees. Produces in the North Carolina tree farm results in profits of more than $15000.
Growing Christmas trees takes a lot of effort. Farmers keep themselves very busy throughout the year to produce the perfectly conical-shaped live Christmas trees that will catch the attention of everybody.
Christmas trees are grown on flat lands without any obstructions, like rocks or fences. They require a particular set of nutrients in order to thrive well. Nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, chlorine, and several other elements are vital for their nourishment. Maintaining the pH and proper drainage are absolute necessities. Trees like pine thrive well in sandy loamy soil, while firs like the Douglas prefer clay loam soil. Extreme climatic conditions can cause severe damage to the growing Christmas trees. Removal of debris, weeds, or any other obstacles is carried out by bull-dozing or soil tilling. Herbicides and insecticides are carefully selected by the farmers.
Harvesting can be done in different ways, and on some farms, the customers are able to choose their own Christmas tree and cut it down themselves. Farmers begin shearing the trees and the process takes about two months. They use various tools and knives to cut off the branches and give the trees a proper conical shape. Several attempts are also made by them to develop disease-resistant Christmas trees in order to protect the trees from several diseases like phytophthora root rot. Workers take more than sixteen hours to care for the Christmas trees during the selling season. Pine trees are the fastest-growing Christmas trees.
Evergreen trees turn yellow during the winter months and begin to lose their old needles due to the harsh climatic conditions.
Therefore, the farmers use green spray paint on the Christmas trees once they are ready for marketing. This color also helps to prevent the needles from drying out.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Christmas tree farming facts: know curious real tree facts, then why not take a look at Ancient China for kids: Learn all about their culture, trades and more, or 21 Viking raid facts: Learn all about the crafty and terrific thieves?
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