In 2007 North Carolina grew more than 3-million Christmas trees, in Georgia that number was 50-thousand. A researcher at the University of Georgia hopes to change that.
The numbers are so varied because Georgia’s climate is too mild for the most popular tree called a Fraser Fir.
UGA horticulturalist Mark Czarnota says Christmas tree farms here typically sell the Leyland Cyprus or Virginia Pine and most people want a Fraser.
“Its smell and the shape and the color of the needles and the tree itself just make it really appealing to consumers.”
Czarnota is using a grant from the USDA to deliver another option. Right now he’s grafting Fraser’s onto a Japanese tree called a Momi Fir that’s more tolerant of Georgia’s climate. Czarnota says the next step is to plant hundreds of seedlings and see how they do over time.