How Long Does It Take to Grow a Christmas Tree: Comparing How Long Different Types of Christmas Trees Grow

It’s that time of year again! Time to deck the halls with boughs of holly and put up a Christmas tree. But how long does it take to grow a Christmas tree? And which type of tree grows the quickest? Read on to find out.
Mia Clark
how long does it take to grow a christmas tree

Different Types of Christmas Trees – Species and Characteristics

The answer to the question, “how long does it take to grow a Christmas tree”, is different for each type of tree. There are many species of Christmas trees to choose from – firs, pines, spruces, cypresses… you name it. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) – a type of evergreen that is native to the Appalachian Mountains. It has dark green needles and a pyramid shape.
  • Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) – also known as the Oregon pine, this is a Christmas tree with a conical shape and soft, flat needles. It can grow over 300 feet tall.
  • Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) – a slow-growing evergreen popular in the northeastern United States. It has long needles and a conical shape.
  • Blue spruce (Picea pungens) – native to the Rocky Mountains. It has blue-green needles, a strong fragrance and a pyramid shape.
  • Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica) – a Christmas Tree native to the southwestern United States. It’s known for its bluish-gray needles and conical shape.

Each of them has different characteristics. How long it takes to grow a Christmas tree of each type will depend on its growth rate and maximum height. Below, we’ll break down how much time you need to grow some of the most popular types of Christmas trees.

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How Long Does It Take to Grow a Christmas Tree? Growth Rates

On average, how long does it take to grow a Christmas tree? Most tree farmers will tell you it takes 7-10 years for it to reach maturity. But the time varies a lot between different species of Christmas trees. Here are the average growth rates per year for 15 species:

  • balsam fir – 12 inches;
  • Canaan fir – 12-24 inches;
  • Douglas fir – 13-24 inches;
  • Fraser fir – 12 inches;
  • noble fir – 12-24 inches;
  • concolor fir – 12-24 inches;
  • white pine – 24-36 inches;
  • Scotch pine – 12-24 inches;
  • Virginia pine – 12 inches;
  • blue spruce – 12-24 inches;
  • Norway spruce – 13-36 inches;
  • white spruce – 13-24 inches;
  • Arizona cypress – 24-36 inches;
  • Leyland cypress – 24-48 inches;
  • red cedar – 13-24 inches.

As you can see, the fastest-growing Christmas trees are the Leyland cypress, Arizona cypress, white pine, and Norway spruce. They can grow at a rate of 3 feet per year or more in the right conditions. The slowest-growing trees are the balsam fir, Fraser fir, and Virginia pine. They only grow about 12 inches per year on average.

Now that you know how long it takes to grow a Christmas tree, you can decide which type is best for you. If you want a tree right away, go for a Leyland cypress. But if you’re patient and want a classic Christmas tree, the balsam fir is a good choice.

How Long Does It Take to Grow a Christmas Tree Yourself?

If you’re thinking of growing your own Christmas tree, it’s important to know how long it will take. Depending on the species, it can take anywhere from a few years to over a decade for your tree to be ready.

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The averages listed above are for professional Christmas tree growers. If you’re growing your tree in your backyard, it’s likely to take longer.

Besides, there’s a big difference between growing a Christmas tree from seeds versus getting a tree that’s already a few years old. If you start with seeds, it will take much longer for your tree to be big enough to decorate. All in all, if you’re growing your own Christmas tree, expect it to take at least five years – and possibly up to 15 years.

How to Grow Your Own Christmas Tree?

Now that we’ve answered the question, “how long does it take to grow a Christmas tree?”, you might be wondering how you can grow your own. Here are a few tips for planting your tree:

  • Choose the right species. As we mentioned, some trees take much longer to mature than others. If you want a tree in the next few years, go for a fast-growing species like the Leyland cypress.
  • Start with a young tree. If you’re starting from scratch with seeds, it will take much longer for your tree to be ready. It’s better to get a young tree that’s already a few years old.
  • If you’re planting multiple trees, space them 8 feet apart to allow good airflow around them. Plant the seedlings at the exact same depth they were grown at in the nursery.
  • For the first year, water the seedlings every week from late spring to early fall. After that, you’ll only need to water them during prolonged droughts. Prune the tree as needed.
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Can You Keep Your Tree Alive All Year?

If you’re wondering if you can keep your Christmas tree alive after the holidays, the answer is yes – but it’s not easy. You’ll need to give it a lot of care and attention if you want your tree to grow for more than a few weeks. Here are a few tips.

  • Make sure your tree’s root ball is intact and keep it damp.
  • Keep the tree cool. Only keep it indoors for a week, then store it in a conservatory until you’re ready to replant it outside.
  • Have a hole in your yard ready before the ground freezes. This will make it easier to replant your tree.
  • When replanting, remove anything that covers the root ball and plant the tree in the hole, then backfill it. Cover it with 5-10 inches of mulch and water the tree.
  • Fertilize your Christmas tree in the spring.

Enjoy Growing Christmas Trees Yourself!

We hope this article has answered your question, “how long does it take to grow a Christmas tree?” Now you can decide which species is best for you. And if you’re patient enough to grow your own tree, we hope our tips will help you keep it alive for years to come!

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