WINCHESTER— Every holiday season, thousands of Virginians invoke a family tradition of visiting the state’s nearly 500 Christmas tree farms to find a tree for their celebrations.
And this year will be no exception. According to Ryan Clouse of Clouse’s Pine Hill Farm in Winchester, consumer demand for Christmas trees has been strong in recent years.
“Come early to make sure you get the best selection of the best trees,” advised Clouse, who is president of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association and a Frederick County Farm Bureau member.
Clouse said many people start shopping for trees the day after Thanksgiving, a day he and others in the industry call “Evergreen Friday.” While he said Virginia growers will have plenty of trees, they go quickly. Those looking for larger sizes, such as 10 feet or taller, will need to check early, and call their local Christmas tree farms.
“We’re seeing a limited quantity of the larger trees,” Clouse noted. “Finding them can be a big challenge.”
Fresh Christmas trees carry several important environmental benefits, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.
The average Christmas tree takes five to 10 years to reach the ideal size for cutting. While growing, trees provide important habitat for wildlife, particularly in the winter. Birds naturally seek shelter in the dense needles, which protect them from the elements and predators.
Christmas trees also produce oxygen while absorbing and storing carbon. They can be grown on poor soils where few other crops would grow, and they reduce erosion, helping protect water quality.
After trees are cut, they typically are replaced with another planting. And cut Christmas trees are 100% recyclable and biodegradable. When trees are left for curbside removal, they often are turned into mulch for gardens, hiking trails and playgrounds.
Additionally, the purchase of a Virginia-grown Christmas tree helps support a Virginia farmer and the local economy. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Christmas trees contribute about $10 million annually to the state’s economy. Virginia is the seventh leading state in terms of total trees harvested, sixth in acres of tree production and 12th in Christmas tree sales.
“Whether you’re buying a pre-cut tree or choosing your own to cut, these trees are coming from Virginia and surrounding areas,” Clouse said, “versus a lot of the artificial trees that are coming from overseas.”
To find a Christmas tree farm near you, visit the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association website at: bit.ly/3TFaeEI.