Smoky Mountain Fraser Fir Trees, America’s Favorite Christmas Tree

Smoky Mountain Fraser fir trees are Americas Favorite Christmas Tree!

Smoky Mountain Fraser fir trees are Americas Favorite Christmas Tree!

Smoky Mountain Fraser Fir Trees, America’s Favorite Christmas Tree.  The Fraser fir, which can reach some 55-feet tall in the wild, is the only fir tree native to the Great Smokies, and is found only in Southern Appalachia at elevations above 3,900 feet.

This iconic pyramid-shaped seasonal symbol of the Great Smoky Mountains, noted for its long fragrant needles, can take more than 12 years to reach a height of six feet. The Fraser fir is hands-down the most popular Christmas tree in North America and has been selected 13 times to grace the white house grounds as the Nation’s Christmas tree.

Not only a beautiful evergreen, the Fraser fir also provides a vital habitat for some of the mountains’ rare plants and animals- including the Northern Flying Squirrel, Weller’s Salamander and the Spruce Fir-Moss Spider.

Named for Scottish botanist John Fraser in the 1800’s, the fir is one of the nation’s most endangered trees. Insect blight from the Balsam Wooly Adelgid as well as ongoing problems brought on by climate change are a constant threat to firs in the wild as well as those grown on commercial farms. Fraser firs are an economic staple in the mountains and more than 50 million of these evergreens occupy some 39,000 acres on tree farms in Western North Carolina.

The lovely Fraser fir is America's favorite Christmas tree.

The lovely Fraser fir is America’s favorite Christmas tree.

Searching for the perfect Christmas tree is a personal and (more often than not) family tradition. Loading up the kids and heading to the nearest cut-your-own tree farm makes for some special holiday memories. Walking down row after row of a green forest in frosty winter weather before selecting and cutting the absolute perfect tree is a fun way for adults and kids to kick off the holiday season. Most farms feature a rustic stand at the edge of the fir forest where families can enjoy mugs of steaming hot chocolate before visiting with the velvet and fur-clad resident Santa and more than a few elves.

Tree safety tips

Before heading out to buy a tree, think about the room where the tree will be located. Leave at least 6-inches between the tip of the tree and the ceiling. Don’t forget to factor in the height of the tree stand as well.

Plan to place trees away from heat sources and direct sunlight if possible.

Either cut your own tree or buy a freshly cut tree from a reputable tree farm. Many pre-cut trees were likely cut weeks before arriving for sale.

Cut off at least two inches at the bottom of the trunk. This helps the tree absorb water. REMEMBER trees can take in as much of a gallon of water a day, so WATER DAILY! (One Connecticut tree farm recommends boiling a gallon of water and dissolving one cup of sugar into the water; let cool then add the mixture to your tree stand at first and then follow with fresh plain water daily.)

Frequently falling needles indicate that the tree is becoming a fire hazard.

We love to see your photos of Fraser firs. Got a hiking pic of one? Or maybe one decorated for the holidays? Send it to us via our social media and spread the holiday cheer!

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