13 facts about North Carolina’s Fraser Firs

Biltmore Estate's Christmas Tree | Photo by @kimberly_button

Chances are, if you have a Christmas tree in your home this year, it’s probably a Fraser Fir, and it was probably grown right here in our state. DYK: The most common Christmas tree – and the one mostly grown in WNC – is the Fraser Fir (94% of all Christmas trees, as a matter of fact). And while you might already know we’re lucky enough to live smack dab in the middle of Christmas tree country, we bet we’ve got a few more deets here that you can use to spark conversations around your tableor that tree – this season.

13 Fascinating Facts about Fraser Firs

Props to you if you can say that tongue twister five times fast.

After Oregon, the Tarheel State is the second largest producer of Christmas trees in the country — roughly 50 million Fraser Firs grow on tree farms here spanning nearly 39,000 acres

26% of all real Christmas trees in the county come from N.C

Christmas tree sales net some serious cash for the state — including over $86 million in 2017

Its popularity extends beyond us common folk — the Fraser Fir has been chosen as the official Christmas Tree of the White House 13 times, including last year’s 19-foot, 800-pound tree from Mountain Top Fraser Fir Farm in Avery County.  

The Biltmore Estate has a 35-foot, 2,400-pound Fraser Fir sourced from the same farm that provided the White House’s tree in 2018. 

Fraser Firs grow up to 55 feet in the wild and are easily identifiable by their sturdy branches, exceptionally fragrant, inch-long needles + pyramidal shape

Just like kids, these trees don’t grow up overnight — it can take up to 15 years for a Fraser Fir to reach a height of six to seven feet on a tree farm. 

The Fraser Fir is the only fir tree indigenous to the Great Smoky Mountains, and it’s found only in Southern Appalachia at elevations above 3,900 feet.

It was named after Scottish botanist John Fraser in the late 1700s.

Fraser Firs provide crucial habitat for rare animals + plants, including the spruce-fir moss spider, the northern flying squirrel, Weller’s salamander, rock gnome lichen, and mountain ash.

Climate change + blight from the exotic, aphid-like insect balsam woolly adelgid have made Fraser Firs one of the most endangered trees in the country. Woolly adelgids also affect our hemlock populations. Researchers are working to thwart it, as well as develop an adelgid-resistant Fir.

The Fraser Fir is popular across the country + world with trees being shipped to Bermuda, the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Canada, Japan + more each year. 

Still need to grab a tree? Don’t fret — peep our list of spots where you can cut your own