Cut Your Own Tree at a North Carolina Christmas Tree Farm

Choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms in the Triangle and beyond


Published:

Photo courtesy of Danielle MacInnes/Shutterstock

Many families cherish the holiday tradition of choosing and cutting their own Christmas trees. They bundle up in warm clothes and head off into the woods, where they debate the merits of several trees before selecting The One. The tree that will be "decked" with treasured ornaments and glittering lights; the one that will be the backdrop for this year’s family photographs, videos and holiday memories.

If you want to experience the old-fashioned holiday tradition of finding and cutting your own tree, you have plenty of choices. More than 100 growers in North Carolina invite visitors to "choose and cut" their own trees. Combined, these North Carolina farmers produce more than 20 percent of the Christmas trees grown in the United States. In fact, Christmas trees are one of North Carolina’s major agricultural crops. With more than 300 Christmas tree growers, North Carolina is ranked second in the nation, behind Oregon, in the number of trees harvested.

Before choosing your tree you will need to determine where in your home the tree will be placed. You’ll also want to consider the desired tree size, density, color and fragrance. You might also want to consider purchasing a "ball and burlap" tree, which is sold with roots intact so it’s possible to replant the tree after the holidays.


Types of Trees

The farms in our region primarily feature Virginia pines, white pines, red cedar, white fir and Leyland cypress trees. Fraser firs are not grown in central North Carolina, although many of the area farms will have these pre-cut and available for sale.

  • The Virginia pine is the most popular species grown in the eastern part of our state. The needles occur in pairs on branches that are stout and woody — good for holding ornaments.
  • The white pine features soft, flexible needles that range in color from bluish-green to silver-green. White pine needles are a bit longer than those of other species.
  • The red cedar, the traditional native Christmas tree of the south, has a nice fragrance, but it can dry out rapidly in a warm house if it is not watered frequently. The color and shape of the red cedar varies widely; its limber branches sometimes have prickly foliage.
  • Leyland cypress, a nicely-shaped cultivated hybrid of Monterey cypress and Alaska cedar, is enjoying new popularity as a Christmas tree.
  • White firs are known for their citrus fragrance, blue-green color and needle retention.
  • Fraser firs have a glossy, dark-green foliage, strong branches and pleasing aroma. The North Carolina Fraser fir has been chosen as the White House Christmas tree 12 times — more than any other species. To choose and cut your own Fraser fir, you’ll need to head to the mountains.

Set a Festive Tone

When you’re ready to go, double-check your driving directions and the working hours for the tree farm you will be visiting. Dress warmly in festive clothing. Play holiday music in the car, and take along a thermos of hot chocolate or spiced apple cider to drink while you hunt for your tree. Don’t forget your camera; you’ll want to capture the excitement as your children leap out of the family to race through the trees. Take along a notebook and pen so you can write down notes about everyone’s favorite trees.


Visions of Sugar Plums

Make tree-hunting a weekend adventure by visiting Sugar Plum Farms near Plumtree, North Carolina, in Avery County. Sugar Plum Farms is loaded with holiday extras and is well worth the drive. This farm specializes in North Carolina Fraser firs, as well as wreaths, garlands, holiday decorations, refreshments and tours.


At Sugar Plum Farms, families can hop on a hayride to the tree-cutting area, where staff members photograph your family cutting down your tree. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the farm. Hot food and warm beverages are available. In late afternoon, the staff hosts a campfire, complete with marshmallows for roasting. Santa Claus visits often on the weekends, so children should have their wish lists handy. Accommodations for overnight visitors can be arranged with area motels, bed-and-breakfasts and cabins.


The Care and Feeding of Your Tree

After you bring your tree home, remember to water it frequently. If you need to wait more than a few hours to decorate the tree, keep it outdoors in a cool, shaded area. The base of the tree should be re-sawed on a diagonal near the original cut and placed in water to stay fresh. When the tree is put up in the house, check the water level in the base daily. Make sure the tree is well-supported and placed away from sources of heat. Never leave tree lights on overnight or when no one is home. Check all cords for wear.

A properly chosen and well-kept Christmas tree will add to the enjoyment of your families’ holiday season. Plan a tree-trimming evening that includes sharing stories about origins of ornaments, favorite holiday music and tempting treats. And don’t forget to sing "Oh, Christmas Tree" as you gather round your tree.


North Carolina Trees

The North Carolina Christmas Tree Association and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture maintain website listings of Christmas tree farms in our state. The Eastern North Carolina Christmas Tree Growers Association can also provide information about tree farms. If you choose a farm from one of these sites, please call before you go. Some tree farms listed on the websites do not have trees available this year but will next year.

North Carolina Christmas Tree Association
828-262-5826 or 800-562-8789
ncchristmastrees.com

Eastern North Carolina Christmas Tree Growers Association
nc-chooseandcut.com

North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Marketing Divisions – Christmas Trees
ncagr.gov/markets/commodit/horticul/xmastree/


Christmas Tree Farms

The farms listed below all offer cut-your-own trees this year.

Back Achers Christmas Tree Farm
4533 Inwood Rd., Raleigh
715-310-2141
backacherschristmastreefarm.com
Offers choose-and-cut Christmas trees — Virginia pine, White pine, Cedar, Leyland cypress, Carolina sapphire, Green giants, Juniper and pre-cut Fraser fir. Also has wreaths and garlands. 2018 update: Back Achers is in the process of replanting so they are low on field trees but the ones they have are going for extremely low prices. Pre-cut Grade A+ Fraser Firs are available for purchase. Twenty eight-foot Fraser Firs will be donated to the first twenty active duty veterans who stop by the farm. Please present your military ID. Once the first lucky 20 veterans have claimed a free tree, there will be a $5 discount for all other Active Duty Veterans for the remainder of this Christmas Season. 

Open: 11 a.m.-sundown Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 9 a.m.-sundown Friday, Saturday and Sunday; Monday by appointment only.
Directions: Farm is located off Lake Wheeler Road, 2 1/2 miles south of the beltline.

Boyce Farms
2813 Mount Vernon Rd., Raleigh
919-848-8264
boycefarms.com
Offers choose-and-cut Christmas trees – White pine, Leyland cypress, Blue Ice, Carolina Sapphire, and pre-cut Fraser fir. Also has wreaths, garland and more. Delivery available.
Open: Monday through Friday noon-7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Directions: Take Highway 50 north (Creedmoor Road) ten miles from Crabtree Valley Mall. Turn left onto Mount Vernon Church Road. Farm is on the left.

Daniel Tree Farm - CLOSED for the 2018 season
1711 NC 55 East, Dunn
910-658-8759
danielchristmastreefarm.com
Directions: Take 401 to Hwy. 55 (Fuquay-Varina); Take Hwy. 55 east through Angier, and one mile past the city limits of Coats the farm is on the left.

Griffin’s Evergreens
250 Avent's Ferry Rd., Sanford
ncfarmfresh.com
919-258-3587
Offers choose-and-cut Christmas trees — White pine and Leyland cypress. Will have pre-cut Fraser firs, custom made wreaths and high quality tree stands.
Open: Sunday through Friday, 1-7 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Directions: Located on Hwy 42 east (1823 Broadway Road), 1 mile from Sanford near the intersection of Avent's Ferry Road.

Jordan Lake Christmas Tree Farm
2170 Marthas Chapel Rd., Apex
919-362-6300
jordanlakechristmas.com
Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on specific days starting Nov. 17. Check website for details.
Offers choose-and-cut Virginia Pines, Leyland Cypress, Carolina Saphire and Eastern Red Cedar Christmas trees, pre-cut fresh Fraser firs, wreaths, garland, trees for planting and more. Hayrides, play area, bounce house, concessions available on weekends.
Directions: Take U.S. 64 West in Apex to N.C. 751, then turn left on Marthas Chapel Road.

McInnis Tree Farm
468 Presnell Rd., Sparta
visitnc.com/listing/mcinnis-tree-farms
336-372-7086
Offers choose-and-cut Christmas trees – White pine and pre-cut Fraser fir. Wreaths and roping available. Enjoy a hayride to the fields and back with your whole family.
Open: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Nov. 27-Dec. 13
​Directions: From I-77 at Elkin, exit on US 21 North, about 2 miles after passing the Blue Ridge Parkway take a right on Glade Valley Road and follow the signs.

North Lakes Christmas Tree and Nursery
7326 Meadowbrook Road, Benson
919-894-3524
northlakechristmastreenursery.com
Offers choose-and-cut Christmas trees — Arizona Cypress (Blue Ice), Leyland Cypress, Norway Spruce, and White Pine. Pre-cut Fraser firs, wreaths and garlands.
Open: Open Nov. 25-Dec. 18. Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 1-6 p.m.
Directions: Interstate 40, Exit 334 – Meadow Exit. Take Hwy. 96 to Hwy. 50. Go east on Hwy. 50 to first left past Meadow School onto Meadowbrook Road. Go about a mile and a half, farm is on the left.

Sugar Plum Farms
1263 Isaac Branch Road, Plumtree
828-765-0019 
sugarplumfarms.com
Take a hayride to pick the a North Carolina Fraser fir Christmas tree. Shipping available. Also offers wreaths, garlands, decorations, Christmas shop, refreshments and crafts.
Open: Nov. 18 and 19, open 9 a.m.-4:30 pm. Thanksgiving Day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-4:30 pm. Weekdays (other than mentioned) open 12:30-4:30 p.m. Open through Dec. 20. 
Directions: Take I-40 west to Hwy. 226 at Marion. North on Hwy. 226 to Spruce Pine. Turn right on Hwy. 19-E and go 12 miles to Plumtree and follow the signs to the farm.

Young’s Tree Farm
686 Fleming Road, Youngsville
919-556-2990
www.ncagr.gov
Offers choose-and-cut Christmas trees – White pine and Leyland cypress ranging 6-8 feet. Pre-tagging of trees by customers starting Thanksgiving. Choose and cut daylight hours only
Open: Call for dates and hours.
Directions: One mile north of Youngsville on SR 1132

 

Updated Nov. 28, 2018

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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This celebration of toys features interactive attractions, vendors, toy experiences and more. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $12/person. Free for ages 2 and younger.

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles, and life jackets are provided,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Young homesteaders learn about the importance of animals and pollinators on farms, both historically and today. Visit with animals, and enjoy interactive games, engaging crafts, imaginative face...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead State Historic Site
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
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DIY Fest returns with more than 30 artisans and family-friendly activities to support the mission of Durham 150, the anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Durham. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Scrap Exchange
2050 Chapel Hill Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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The fair is for women thinking about getting pregnant, currently pregnant, or recently post-partum. Triangle-area organizations will have tables at the fair to share information about resources...

Cost: Free

Where:
NC Cooperative Extension
721 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: March of Dimes/Duke Family Medicine
Telephone: 678-246-9027
Contact Name: Courtney Simpson
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Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 or 3 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's history...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (6 - under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Ages 5-8 embrace science and nature while developing skills and knowledge about the natural world. Register online. Choose course #124927.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Enjoy all-things blueberry, food trucks, pie-eating contests and more at Vollmer Farms' annual Blueberry Festival. The Back-40 Country Playground will be open and features a...

Cost: $12 advance tickets, $15 at the door. Free for ages 12 and younger

Where:
Vollmer Farm
677 NC Hwy 98 East
Bunn, NC  27508
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Sponsor: Vollmer Farm
Telephone: 919-496-3076
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Enjoy a movie under the stars and play games at 7:15 before the movie starts. 

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.