Many Americans choose to adorn their homes over the holidays with a Christmas tree, and many of those are real trees. While the American Christmas Tree Association suggests that 80% of U.S. households choose an artificial tree, the USDA Census of Agriculture statistics show that over 17 million trees were harvested in 2012 (the latest data available), and the National Christmas Tree Association maintains that upwards of 30 million will be sold this year.  Read on for more info and Agriculture Statistics related to live Christmas trees.

State Tree Statistics

Tree species popular for Christmas trees—pines, spruces and firs—are grown in just about every state, but like most ag commodities, some states grow more than others. Oregon was the biggest state in 2012, with over 6 million trees harvested. North Carolina was another heavy hitter, with over 4 million trees grown and harvested. Michigan’s numbers were near 2 million, while Pennsylvania contributed just over 1 million trees. Wisconsin rounded out the top 5 with over 600,000 trees. See the exact numbers for each state here.

Growing Christmas Trees

Trees are a natural resource, and anyone choosing a cut tree can feel confident they’ve made a sound environmental choice. Pines, firs and spruces generally grow quickly, and a well-formed Christmas tree of six to eight feet can be ready for harvest in seven to 10 years. In some states, like Florida, it can take as little as three to six years, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Christmas trees are grown on farms like crops, and new trees are planted to replace those that are cut down each year. While they grow, trees take in carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen; this offers obvious positive environmental benefits.

Similarly, real Christmas can be recycled. Many cities and municipalities offer curbside pick-up of live Christmas trees the weeks following New Year’s Day. Usually, they use these trees for mulch, so make sure to remove tinsel, lights and decorations.

Make sure to follow safety concerns for your Christmas tree, whether you choose real or artificial, such as these tips offered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and have a happy holidays!