How Many Christmas Trees Per Acre? Find The Real Number (Not Guess)

Man dressed for snowy weather on the right holding a clipboard writes down a number while a woman with her hand on her chin on the left of a evergreen tree and wonders how many Christmas trees per acre can be planted.

The question of how many Christmas trees per acre can give the best agricultural results is a question many people wonder, including many farmers planning a Christmas tree farm.

But, you might be surprised to know that when well-spaced, an acre of land can support up to 1,500 Christmas trees!1

However, the answer isn’t something that should be guessed at. To find the real number of Christmas trees per acre, you have to consider a number of factors, including the type of land, the location, the species of tree being planted, and more. Plus, the final sizes in diameter and height play a part.2

This guide provides all the information you should know about Christmas tree farms and how many trees per acre can be planted by providing the steps to make the actual calculation yourself.

Many environmentalists argue that natural Christmas trees (especially the ones that can be replanted) are the best choice for the holiday celebration… way better for the planet than manufactured plastic trees that eventually end up in landfills. Not only do live Christmas trees sequester carbon while they are growing, but these farms are also constantly being replenished, so that harvested trees are replaced to begin the cycle again every year.

Related Reading: How many trees are in the world?

A full Christmas tree is 7-7.5 feet tall and 56 to 64 inches wide.3 The base of a Christmas tree increases with its height.

Map of Christmas tree farm locations in the United States, showing large trees where tree more farms for Christmas trees are located, and smaller trees for smaller concentration of farms, indicating that Christmas trees are grown in almost every state in the US.

Growing Christmas trees requires skills and best practices working in your target market. Some species grow almost everywhere, while others do better in some regions than others. The table below shows the most common species:

Christmas Tree TypeDetails
Balsam FirFlat needle-like dark green leaves. Produces a good scent. Silvery-white shiny allusion. It’s green throughout and is 66 feet when fully grown. It’s mainly used for Christmas wreaths and Christmas bouquets.
Frazer FirStrapping branches grow somewhat upwards and are conical in shape. Spiral needle-like leaves curl along the trunk. Fifty feet tall when fully grown. Best used for hefty ornaments, holiday décor, and Christmas garlands.
Canaan FirFlat needle-like green leaves. Best performs in the West Virginia mountains. Still new in the Christmas tree market hence few. Grows to medium size.
Douglas FirBunches of flat-soft blue or dark green leaves grow into pyramid shapes. Extra-large growing from medium-sized up to 330 feet tall. One of the most dominant in the United States.
Grand FirTwo-colored needle-like leaves with yellow-green tones and white thread beneath. Gives an inviting scent. It is 230 feet tall when fully grown. Performs best in Pacific North West and Northern California.
Close up photo of a Douglas Fir tree leaves.

(Image: Joshua Choate8)

Christmas Tree TypeDetails
Noble Fir230 feet tall when fully grown. Uniformly spaced branches bearing evergreen needle-like leaves curling upward. Best performs in the Pacific Northwest.
Concolor FirAlso known as white fir.
One hundred ninety-five feet when fully grown. Bears have blue-green leaves in the early stages but turn into dull green with age.
White PineFound in forests. Sharp pointed tips but almost no scent. It serves as an option but lacks some features that give prominence to Christmas fashion. Features bundles of needles growing on weak branches. Two hundred thirty feet tall when fully grown and has a lifespan of 400 years. The largest pine in the United States is white pine.
Scotch Pine/Scots PineLots of Christmas lights and decorations find a home on dark greenery and strapping branches. One hundred fifteen feet tall when fully grown. Color of its bunches of needles alternate between blue-green to dark green. It is prominent in Scotland, where it is honored as the national tree.
Virginia PineShort twisted needles growing in twos. It is designed by decorating its short branches and is known for the thick greenery growing on short branches. Seventy feet when fully grown. Is shaped by trimming.
Close up photo of a Noble Fir tree leaves.

(Image: Manfred Richter9)

Christmas Tree TypeDetails
Blue Spruce/Colorado SpruceSkywards curling gray-blue needles. It’s a local of the United States Rocky Mountains and is 75 feet tall when fully grown. It has conical-shaped thick greenery and bears the exact shape of the Christmas tree. It is honored as the Colorado state tree.
Norway Spruce80 feet tall when fully grown. Dark green pointed needle-like leaves. Europe is its home of origin, but it’s also common in the United States. Poor maintenance causes loss of needle retention.
White Spruce/Canadian Spruce/skunk Spruce/Western white spruce etc.It’s 130 feet tall when fully grown. Stocky blue-green short needle-like leaves. It provides a beautiful home for ornaments and lights.
Arizona CypressThe origin is South Western United States. Sixty feet tall when fully grown. Has bluish-gray leaves and conical-shaped branches.
Leyland CypressGreenish gray feathery leaves that curl skywards into a pyramid shape. It lacks the quality of scent but is recommended for allergic consumers. Seventy feet when fully grown.
Red Cedar/Eastern Cedar/Pencil Cedar/Aromatic CedarThick pyramid-shaped branches, dark shiny green colored leaves that grow heavenward. Forty feet tall when eastern red cedar grows to a full height even though slow. Widely used as Christmas trees in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
Close up photo of a wet Norway Spruce tree branch with green leaves.

(Image: Caroline Grahn10)

The demand for live Christmas trees has shifted the attention of Christmas tree dealers to farming or buying from farmers. Therefore, knowing how to start a farm is important before you venture into this agricultural endeavor.

How To Calculate How Many Trees To Plant Per Acre

Calculating how many Christmas trees to plant per acre just involves a series of steps.

Step 1. Choose the type of Christmas Tree to plant, based on the soil type and watering options where you plan the farm.

The soil will dictate how well certain trees will grow, so research the options for the varieties available (or check out the information further down).

Step 2. Layout the planting site based on the tree species needs.

See the chart below to determine how far apart rows should be planted. In general, rows should be at least 5-8′ wide, with trees planted at least 5-8′ apart.

Keep in mind that the soil plays a huge role in what type of tree you can plant. You can use the following chart to get started:

Tree TypeFull Height When GrownFull Height for Most Christmas TreesSpacing Needed on Farm
Balsam Fir66 Feet8-12 FeetAt least 6 Feet
Frazer Fir50 – 60 feet6 -7 feet20 feet
Canaan Fir50 – 70 feet5 – 8 feet16 – 20 feet
Douglas Fir250 feet40 – 70 feet9 feet
Grand Fir140 – 200 feet4 – 16 feet20 – 30 feet
Noble Fir50 – 100 feet7 feet8 feet
Concolor Fir30 – 50 feet7.5 feet16 – 20 feet
White Pine50 – 80 feet80 feet6 – 12 feet
Scotch Pine60 feet4 – 9 feet6 – 7  feet
Virginia Pine20 – 40 feet8 feet8 feet
Blue Spruce/Colorado Spruce50 – 75 feet25 feet15 – 25 feet
Norway Spruce40 – 60 feet12 feet16 – 20 feet
White Spruce/Canadian Spruce/skunk spruce/Western white spruce etc.40 – 60 feet8 feet16 – 20 feet
Arizona Cypress40 – 75 feet15 feet8 – 16 feet
Leyland Cypress60 – 70 feet6 – 12 feet6 feet
Red Cedar/Eastern Cedar/Pencil Cedar/Aromatic Cedar50 – 70 feet30 – 60 feet20 feet

How Do You Start a Christmas Tree Farm?

A farmer who already knows how many Christmas trees per acre can give the best results can start a Christmas tree by:

  1. Choosing the species that best suits the target market8 and can do well in the available land
  2. Buying seedlings of a variety of choice
  3. Doing a land preparation
  4. Doing the seedling planting
  5. Preparing to plant every year for 5 years minimum

How Long Does a Christmas Tree Take to Mature for Harvesting? The Real Figure

Seedlings take two to four years to be ready for transplant and another eight years on average to grow to maturity on farms. Leyland Cypress grows much faster, up to four feet for one year, while most of the others can grow around 12-14″ a year.

Related Reading: How many trees are planted each year?

So, it depends on the species of tree planted to determine the growth rate.

What Are the Diseases and Pests That Affect Christmas Trees?

Besides using them to celebrate the birth of Christ, Christmas trees save the environment by increasing oxygen and reducing carbon offsets. An acre of land occupied by 1,500 Christmas trees produces oxygen for consumption by up to 18 human beings. Christmas trees are also a source of nutrients when recycled.

Related Reading: How many Christmas trees are cut down each year?

How Do You Select a Site for Christmas Tree Planting? Here’s the Correct Way

The quality of the site a farmer uses to plant Christmas trees determines the quality in terms of health and speed of growth of Christmas Trees.4

Choosing the site involves consideration of several factors including:

  • Depth of topsoil (should be more than 6 inches)
  • The type of subsoil (Loamy soil that’s well-drained most recommended)
  • The presence of hardpan may affect root penetration
  • The depth that the existing tree and weed roots grow
  • Rate of drainage and water infiltration
  • Possibility of water saturation
  • The site’s microclimate
  • Water flow and drainage patterns
  • Access to the site

How Do You Arrange a Layout for Your Farm?

Having known how many Christmas trees per acre are required for a grower’s Christmas tree farm, an arrangement of the best layout is important before land preparation.

This includes a layout for Christmas tree fields, roadway, and areas of operation within the farm. The road network within the farm should be marked, followed by culvert installment and grading.

Related Reading: How many types of palm trees are there?

Culverts help in the drainage that saves trees from root diseases and other effects of poor drainage like lack of oxygen and water-logging that affects the general operation within the farm.

Christmas tree farm with trees laid out in perfect rows.

(Image: Any Lane11)

Small-scale growers operating on a fraction of an acre should invest in a good network of pathways to ease movement during farming operations.

How Do You Prepare Land for a Christmas Tree?

Christmas trees can be planted on any portion of a grower’s acreage of land,9 from a small fraction of an acre to thousands of acres for large-scale growers. Still, calculations on how many trees a farmer needs for the available land size depend on the factors listed above to determine how many Christmas trees per acre will deliver the best results.5

Related Reading: How many trees does it take to build a house?

If 1,500 Christmas trees per acre are the professionally recommended ratio, a farmer who owns a quarter of an acre will divide 1,500 by four and buy 375 seedlings.

Tools for land preparation depend on the capacity of the grower. Large-scale growers require machines, while small-scale growers use hands.

Land Preparation

Before planting, the land should be prepared.

  • Clearing: This includes clearing of bushes, removal of stumps, and heaping windrows bulldozed from debris to safer sites.
  • Sample Soil Testing: Samples of soil from the site should be taken for laboratory testing to establish suitability for the preferred Christmas tree species.
  • Subsoiling: Land tilling or subsoiling helps in improving drainage. Subsoiling can be done using a subsoiler or flat lifter, plows, disks, or other tools. Soil particles refill channels in clay soils, rendering tillage practice of little benefit, but it is essential in sandy soils that have coarse textures. Sloping land has the challenge of soil erosion, and removing the vegetation that occupies the surface, including weeds, exposes the soil to erosion.

How Do You Prepare Seedbeds for Planting Christmas Tree Seedlings?

Agile and healthy seedlings from a nursery8 give a grower the best planting stock and can be ready for transplant in a year.6 A Christmas tree producer can opt to buy or plant their seedlings in a nursery. The DIY method has higher returns, but will take a little longer before the seedlings are ready to transplant.

Steps for growing your own seedlings include:

  1. Selecting the best site for a tree nursery
  2. Site clearing (This is much easier than farm clearing)
  3. Laying out the seedbed
  4. Preparing the seedbed for germination. Must be properly tilled and cleared of any debris before sowing seeds
  5. Sowing as many seeds as possible to take care of possible losses and depending on how many seeds per acre a farmer is targeting to plant
  6. The surface of the bed must be pressed firmly to make the soil hold the seeds more strongly
  7. Covering the seedbed using recommended materials like sawdust, pine saw, barks of hardwood, peat moss, etc. (Don’t use fresh sawdust)

Fertilizing the seedbed should be done based on the needs of the species and the outcomes of the soil sample test. Generally, use potash fertilizer and nitrogen cautiously in the first year, followed by nitrogen topdressing in the second year. The fertilizer should be applied three times in different months depending on the seasonal needs of the geographical locality.

And, you should ensure a constant water supply, from any source as long as it is pure water.

How Do You Transplant Christmas Tree Seedlings?

Christmas tree seedlings should be planted during a rainy season when the climate can support them fresh from the nursery. The seedlings can easily perish if exposed to dry, frozen, or wet soil.

Farmers should buy or remove Christmas tree seedlings from nurseries when they are about to do the transplant to ensure the roots stay moist.

What Are the Diseases and Pests That Affect Christmas Trees? A Great Surprise

Pests and diseases are a serious impediment10 to the growth of Christmas trees.7 A farmer can easily calculate how many Christmas trees per acre are suitable for their business, but such destructive enemies cause the possibility of harvesting a smaller number. Some of the most dangerous pests and diseases destroying Christmas trees include:

  • Spotted Lanternfly: Harm is not much, according to experts.
  • Insects: Some Christmas trees may have some insects but no serious threat is reported.
  • Zimmerman Pine Moth: The main trunk bears a popcorn-like pitch mass. It damages the beauty of the Christmas tree by causing ugly frass that is reddish and looks like. sawdust
  • White Pine weevils: Causes shepherd’s crook to wilt.
  • Birds: Damages top parts of the Christmas trees.
  • White pine Blister Rust: Signs are red or yellow spots on affected areas that kill branches of Christmas trees.
  • White Grubs: causes reddish-brown discoloration to transplants and seedlings of conifer through their larvae that eat roots
  • Swiss Needle Cast: Kills Douglas Fir starting with the tips of its needles. Visibility of signs start in less than 3 years of infection
  • Striped Pine Scale: Causes sooty mold
  • Spruce Spider Mites: Damages needles by causing yellow stripling
  • Spruce Needle Rust: Causes yellow discoloration on the needle
  • Rhizosphaera Needle Cast: Discolors needles of young trees
  • Rhabdocline Needle Cast: Causes enlarging yellow spots on needles
  • Dothistroma: Causes dark green bands lesions which are reddish-brown
  • Ploioderma Needle Cast: Causes a blotchy appearance on needles
  • Pine wilt disease: Causes yellow to reddish-brown discoloration
  • Pine Shoot Beetle: Causes damages to branch and shoot
  • Pine Sawflies: Eats needles
  • Pine Root Collar Weevil: Can make a whole tree yellow
  • Pine Bark Adelgid: Damages shoot and branch
  • Phytophthora Root Rot: Causes reddish-brown needle and dieback
  • Pales Weevil: Damages shoot and branch
  • Lophoderrmium Needle Cast: Damages and discolors needle

Each of these pests can be dealt with in an eco-friendly way.

Christmas tree farms not only offer a traditional holiday symbol, but they also reduce the environmental impact that is associated with the holiday season. The trees themselves sequester carbon emissions while they are growing, and provide clean oxygen. However, because of the short life cycle of a Christmas tree, they aren’t used for tree planting carbon offset programs by carbon offset providers.

In order to be ‘farmed’ in this manner, the length of time the trees are required to grow is usually more than 25 years. However, they still provide a significantly lower carbon footprint than a plastic-chemically made and processed tree. Although those trees can be used more than once, they eventually end up in landfills and take hundreds of years to decompose, if ever.

Knowing how many Christmas trees per acre can be planted can help you if you decide to plant your own little farm using Christmas trees that retain their root balls, so they can be planted and enjoyed all year round.


1Safehubcollective. (2022). How Many Christmas Trees Can You Have On An Acre? Retrieved May 2022 21, 2022, from <>

2FindAnyAnswer. (2021). How Many Christmas Trees Grow Per Acre? Retrieved May 20, 2022, from <>

3Wayfair. (2022). Christmas Tree sizes. Retrieved from <>

4University, N. S. (2022). Establishing A Christmas Tree Plantation. Retrieved from NC Extension: <>

5al”, M. “. (2002). Christmas Trees. Retrieved May 2022, from <>

6State, N. (2022). Establishing a Christmas Tree Plantation. Retrieved from NC State: <>

7Extension, P. (2022). Pests and Diseases. Retrieved from <>

8Photo by Joshua Choate. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

9Photo by Manfred Richter from Pixabay <>

10Photo by Caroline Grahn. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

11Photo by Any Lane. Pexels. Retrieved from <>