Wildfires and a prolonged drought appear to have spared North Carolina's Christmas tree farms this year. The state is a top producer of the holiday staple nationally.
The state's huge Fraser firs got enough moisture during their peak growing season in late spring, according to Bill Glenn of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
"About two-thirds of our Christmas trees in North Carolina come from the extreme Northwestern part of the state, Ashe and Alleghany Counties. Those counties were not even in a drought status until last week," Glenn said, adding that Fraser firs are a hardy crop.
"I don't want to minimize the fact that it's dry," he said. "We need rain. But we're dealing with a very drought-tolerant crop. By the time we harvest a Christmas tree, it's been growing roots for seven or eight years."
Glenn said growers had worried the wildfires would block road access, but they've been able to get Christmas trees to market.
He reminded holiday shoppers to cut a half inch from the bottom of their Christmas trees and fill tree stands with water to keep them fresh at home.