The Best Way to Ship Christmas Trees this Holiday Season


How Are Christmas Trees Shipped?

Many Christmas tree farms are located across the country in states such as Oregon, Washington, California, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Shipping real trees is a difficult task, with many carriers saying no all together. With capacity so tight, it’s important to have a company like FreightCenter on your side to find you the right equipment for the job and for an affordable rate. When it comes to Christmas tree shipping, here are a few best practices:

  • Flatbed trucks should be avoided. Without proper enclosed protection, the trees are left vulnerable to wind, debris, and inclement weather.
  • Trees are best moved by dry van, or a refrigerated truck. Because the trees were grown in cold weather, they are prone to overheating and drying out in an enclosed space without any circulation.
  • Shipments with three or more pickups and/or deliveries scheduled should be avoided. It's crucial to get the trees in water as soon as they're delivered. The more pickups and deliveries, the longer the trees go without water. By choosing truckload service, your freight agent will find a dedicated truck to pick up and quickly transport the trees. 

Get a truckload quote and select dry van service.

A Shortage of Trees, But Not Christmas Spirit

Back in 2008 when the Great Recession was at its peak, people opted out of buying Christmas trees—thinking of them as more of a luxury rather than necessity. This meant fewer trees were chopped down, fewer new seedlings were planted, and fewer trees were shipped to Christmas tree lots around the country. Fast forward 9 years—the average time it takes for a Christmas tree to grow the preferred height of 7-8 feet—and we’re still feeling the effects of the Great Recession. Christmas tree prices have risen 5-10% partially due to the shortage, but also because of higher diesel fuel prices.  Smaller harvests can also be contributed to the decreased number of growers, as many tree growers went out of business during the recession.

Fast Facts on America’s Favorite Fir’s

According to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), here are some quick tree facts:

  •  Approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. each year.
  • There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas trees in the U.S.
  •  For every Christmas tree harvest, 1-3 seedlings are planted in the spring.
  • There are roughly 350 million Christmas trees currently growing on Christmas tree farms in the U.S. alone—all planted by farmers.

Top 5 Most Popular Christmas Tree Types

Among the large variety of Christmas trees on the market, only a few have earned high rankings on the list of most popular Christmas tree types. Factors such as needle retention and scent are among the most important when it comes to selecting the perfect tree.

  1. Balsam fir
    What’s thought of as the traditional Christmas tree. Lasts a long time, very aromatic, and great for tight spaces.
  2. Douglas fir
    A top seller in the U.S. Great fir big rooms, as it is a full and elegant tree. Needles radiate in all directions from the branch and omit a sweet fragrance. A 19-foot Douglas fir grown in Pennsylvania was presented to First Lady Michelle Obama in 2016.
  3. Fraser fir
    Needles are dark green on top and silver underneath. Branches turn upward slightly. Perfectly shipper with good needle retention. Pleasant aroma.
  4. Noble fir
    Popular tree of the West. Stiff, upward bending branches make it a good tree for heavy ornaments. Beautifully scented.
  5. Scotch pine
    The top selling tree in the U.S. Branches curve upward, perfect for ornament holding. Stays fresh for a long time. No needles drop even when the tree dries out.

It's Christmas, Keep It Real

The NCTA is encouraging Christmas tree lovers to keep it real this year (and every year for that matter). At first thought it might seem that cutting down a tree is not a green decision, but doing so is actually beneficial for the environment. Most artificial trees are manufactured in China, which takes an abundance of resources to transport here. Additionally, the materials are not biodegradable, meaning once the tree is in a landfill, it will stay there for hundreds of years. Meanwhile, real Christmas trees serve a dual purpose once the holidays are over. Many towns and cities participate in programs where your tree can be disposed of properly, and will then be chipped and used as compost that feeds soil for years.

Get your instant freight quote now and select the truckload mode.