Tree of the Month
Here in the mountains of western North Carolina we begin to see “our” trees coming down the mountain on big trucks in November heading for the Northeast, the southern coasts, south as far as Miami and as far west as Texas. Thanksgiving weekend tree lots pop up in cities everywhere with 2 X 4s stobbed into the ground to support the trees that will stand under overhead lines of light bulbs. Most of these lots will announce the arrival of the North Carolina Fraser, America’s ideal Christmas tree.
Named for John Fraser, a Scottish botanist, the trees were discovered in the 1700s growing only in five places in the world: Richland Balsam, Grandfather Mountain, Clingmans Dome, Mt. Mitchell, and Mt. Rogers; indigenous here in western NC. The tree is now widely cultivated above 3000 feet where the cool temperatures and high rainfall allow the tree to retain its needles throughout the season. Because of the ......
At any time there are 50 million of these trees in the ground here in NC, on about 33,300 acres of Christmas tree farms, 1500 trees to an acre. Every tree farm has seven stands of trees, as it takes seven years before the tree is ready to harvest. I visited with one of our local growers, Jerry McAbee, at Hutch’s Mountain Trees, not far from my home. He has a website www.hutchsmountaintrees.com where we can see beautiful pictures of his trees from planting to harvesting. Share it with your kids; they’ll find it interesting.
I learned that both Jerry and his employee Sherry are writers and are considering joining our local writers’ group. They understand patience and waiting, and appreciate how long it takes to nurture a book-or a tree-to harvest. We laughed about how a Christmas tree farmer and an author are alike in that it takes passion, hard work, patience and determination.
Thanks Jerry, and our other Tar Heel Tree Farmers whose trees make Christmas special.