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history of Christmas tree farms in the United States

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By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

In eighteen fifty one a American farmer by the name of Mark Carr whom was living in the Catskill Mountains, located in New York, revolutionized the Christmas tree industry forever. Mark began a journey to New York City with a small crop of Christmas trees. The trees were being pulled by two of his trusty oxen. Once he reached New York the Christmas tree market was instantly created. Mark Carr quickly sold all of the trees he brought with him. Before this most families in the United States who celebrated Christmas simply went to the forest to harvest their own Christmas tree. This is still a popular tradition for some families in rural areas.

It wasn't till fifty year later that the first Christmas tree farm was created in the United States. In 1901 the first farm was believed to have been established. W.V. McGalliard planted twenty five thousand Norway Spruce trees. He lived near Trenton, New Jersey, in Merer County. It wasn't till 7 years later when he was able to sell these trees. He chose to sell them for $1 dollar each. However most families, even up until the 1940s still chose to go out into the forest to harvest their own trees. Popular species for christmas trees were Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Black pruce, and White Spruce. All of these species were readily available in the forests all over North America.

After World War II the amount of trees being planted in plantations increased exponentially. By the nineteen sixties the Christmas tree plantation industry changed a great deal. Many part time growers became full time growers in order to keep up with demand. Just the same many part time growers dropped out of the industry entirely. There was major expansion all over the United States during this time.

In more modern history the market for natural Christmas trees has began to crumble. In ninteen ninety two there was too large of a harvest, almost 850,000, and the price tumbled. Christmas trees were selling for as little as $5 as opposed to to the usual eighteen to thirty dollar price range. Many Christmas tree growers went out of business due to the rise and popularity of artificial trees in the United States. In 1998 a powerful storm hit the Canadian Provinces, from which the US buys many natural Christmas trees. The storm knocked out 15-20% of the total trees on the plantation.

Today most American's choose to use an artificial Christmas tree rather than the more traditional natural trees.



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