Frasier Fir and the Balsam Wooly Adelgid
Fraser fir is a high elevation species that occupies many of the highest peaks of the southern Appalachians in the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The species occurs naturally at elevations from 1350 m to the highest peaks (2037 mat Mt. Mitchell). At the lower elevations Fraser fir is found in mixed stands with red spruce, but at the highest elevations Fraser fir predominates.
At elevations as low as 1 OOOm Fraser fir is grown commercially as a highly prized Christmas tree. North Carolina ranks first in the nation in Fraser fir production, and produces 15% of the nation’s total Christmas tree crop. An estimated 34 million Fraser fir trees are grown on 23,000 acres in western North Carolina. Cash receipts range from $71.2 million to $100 million annually. Ofthe over 1500 Christmas tree farmers in western North Carolina, two-thirds have less than 10 acres in production. Tennessee and Virginia also have a significant Christmas tree industry.