Researchers are trying to develop a Christmas tree that will hold onto its needles from Thanksgiving to New Year’s — not a small thing in a $1 billion industry.
From Lab to Living Room - A typical tree can take from 8 to 12 years to go from seed cone to Christmas tree stand.
The largest Christmas tree operations harvest almost a million trees a year, transporting them by helicopter.
A small operation like Bell’s Christmas Tree Farm might raise fewer than 30,000 trees.
Before a seedling arrives at a small farm, it may have been germinated by a large forestry company and transplanted several times at a third nursery.
The quest for a better tree has led growers to look beyond favorites like blue spruce (below) to less common varieties, like Turkish, Korean and Canaan firs.
Organic Christmas tree farms are rare. Growers typically use pesticides to control blights like Phytophthora root rot and Swiss needle cast.