In 2005, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation making the Fraser Fir the official Christmas tree of North Carolina.
The process started with a petition from eighth grade students at Harris Middle School in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. They had learned that Fraser Firs were a significant part of the state’s economy. Roughly 50 million Fraser Firs, to be more specific, are grown on approximately 25,000 acres in North Carolina. Of all of the Christmas trees grown in the state, ninety-percent are Fraser Firs. According to the NC Dept of Agriculture, in 2009 Christmas trees brought an estimated $100 million economic impact to the state of NC.
The Fraser Fir is named for Scottish botanist John Fraser, who explored the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the late-18th century. In fact, Fraser Firs are naturally only found in the Southern Appalachian region at elevations above 3,000.
Fraser Firs have the traditional Christmas, pyramid-like, tree shape; its slightly upturned branches give it a more rounded base. Although the trees can grow up to 80 or so feet and have a trunk diameter of 1.5 feet, most harvested trees range anywhere from 7 to 10 feet tall. This height can be reached after approximately 12 years.
North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Fraser Fir, http://www.ncagr.gov/, (last accessed November 24, 2010); North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office, North Carolina State Symbols, Christmas Tree, Fraser Fir, http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/kidspg/symbols.htm,(last accessed November 30, 2010; North Carolina Christmas Tree Association, NC Christmas Trees, Fraser Fir Trees, http://ncchristmastrees.com/fraser-fir-trees.php, (last accessed November 30, 2010.