Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
(850) 617-7301 Fax
Division of Marketing and Development
The Mayo Building
407 S. Calhoun St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
Originally, the family Christmas tree came from the forest. Today, most Christmas trees are plantation-grown in cultivated stands to provide consumers with the best possible trees. Nationally, about 30 million real trees are used for Christmas annually.
In Florida, red cedar, Virginia pine, sand pine, spruce pine and Leyland cypress are grown specifically for use as Christmas trees. Each year, the young trees must be shaped or pruned to encourage the tree to branch more quickly and gradually achieve the full, bushy appearance people prefer in their Christmas trees. It takes three to six years to grow a well-shaped, 6- to 8-foot tree.
Christmas tree harvesting does not upset the ecology, because more trees are planted than harvested each year; the general rule is to plant two to three trees for every tree cut. While growing, Christmas trees provide environmental benefits such as wildlife habitat and increased soil stability. Purchasing a homegrown Florida tree is good for the environment because less fuel is used in transportation. This also supports the farmers of the state and boosts Florida's economy.
Many Florida tree farms offer customers the option to choose and cut their own Christmas trees. This has helped renew the tradition of involving the entire family in the process. When you visit a Florida tree farm, remember to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Christmas trees grow in natural environments, so watch for uneven ground and stumps. Bring your camera so you can capture this special part of your holiday tradition.
When you decide to purchase a freshly cut Florida-grown tree, make sure it is the appropriate size for your home and that the stand you use will allow for watering the tree. Freshness is an important thing to look for when selecting your tree. The needles should be resilient. The tree should have a good fragrance and good green color. A fresh tree will retain its moisture content and thereby keep its fragrance and needles, if kept in a stand that has a good water-holding capacity. A tree that is moist when brought into the home and is kept moist by adding water through the base of the trunk will not be a fire hazard.
Christmas Tree Farm Locator
Below is a list of Florida Christmas tree growers who are members of the Florida Christmas Tree Association. Many offer potted trees, pre-cut trees, and choose-and-cut trees. Some also offer wreaths, arts and crafts, gifts, and onsite family activities such as hay rides. Call ahead to confirm availability and dates and hours of operation.