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A Visit to Two Oregon Christmas Tree Farms

Owen in the production yard at Holiday Tree Farms in Corvallis, Oregon

Christmas trees are grown across the United States and around the world. In the U.S., Oregon is responsible for more trees than any other state. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oregon was home to 1,431 Christmas tree farms in 2017, yielding 4.7 million trees. The state’s tree farms include everything from wholesale distributors to neighborhood businesses.

Holiday Tree Farms, which was founded in 1955, is one of the world’s largest Christmas tree growers. Based in Corvallis, the company is a leading producer of trees that are distributed to buyers nationwide.

At any given time, the farm grows 8 million Christmas trees. Nearly a million trees are sold each year. Most of the trees go to California, but some are shipped as far away as Hawaii, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.  

“All we do is trees,” production manager Kaley Fast told me during a recent visit. “We have probably close to 8,000 acres in Christmas trees.”

Fast explained that Holiday Tree Farms harvests only the best trees. Workers use helicopters to lift bundles of trees and drop them onto trucks. That process speeds up the harvest, keeping the trees fresh during transit. 


Owen with Karen Breckenridge, a co-owner of Eola Christmas Trees in Salem 


Karen Breckenridge is one of a group of neighbors who own Eola Christmas Trees, a small farm in Salem. In business for more than 20 years, the farm allows customers to cut down their own trees. “It’s fun to watch families come and get a Christmas tree,” Breckenridge said. 

According to Breckenridge, farming Christmas trees is a “commitment.” Trees take 5 to 10 years to grow, depending upon the variety. An increase in extreme weather events due to climate change poses another challenge. For example, in the summer of 2021, the Pacific Northwest experienced a major heat wave. Temperatures reached as high as 117°F in Salem.

Breckenridge said that the heat was terrible for the seedlings, or young trees. “We lost all of them, all the babies,” she said. “All the little seedlings, just gone. It just baked them.” 

Despite the challenges, Breckenridge said that there’s something special about growing Christmas trees. A real tree, she believes, adds to the Christmas spirit. “It makes your house smell wonderful,” she said. “It just makes you happy.” 


Holiday Tree Farms grows 8 million trees at a time. 

Top photos courtesy of the author; bottom photo courtesy of Holiday Tree Farms