- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

MORGANTON, N.C. (AP) - Fraser firs are practically a part of the King family when it comes to Christmastime.

Jeff King, owner of King’s Christmas Trees, and a close friend of his started the selling Christmas trees more than 30 years ago.

“I actually started when I was a junior in high school,” King said. “I enjoyed it and he didn’t and he quit and I stayed . it has been 35 years.”

After he married his wife, Brenda, they opened a small engine shop in downtown Morganton, said King’s Christmas Trees website.

A part of King still wanted to be involved with selling Christmas trees, so they set up a small area tree lot outside of the engine shop, the website said.

“My wife supported me right along when we got married, so we continued and the families have taken into it and we are working on the third generation,” King said.

His son Brent and his family have stepped up to manage the Morganton tree lot, while their daughter Jessica and her family manage another location in Gastonia.

All of their trees are grown in the mountains of North Carolina, with most of them coming from Avery County, the website said.

They offer several different trees including the popular Fraser fir, Norway spruce, Alberta spruce, blue spruce and white pine.

“A (Fraser) fir has a soft feel and short needles and a spruce has a completely round needle and it’s real prickly and the white pine has real long needles,” King said.

Fraser firs are grown at an elevation of approximately 3,500 feet and are known for their bright green needles and fresh balsam scent, the website said.

For the 35 years he has been in the Christmas tree business, the popularity of real trees has reached its highest because of their recycling capabilities.

“They are actually more popular now than ever simply because we have always been green and the world is just now finding out that it is a green item,” King said. “Christmas tree are recyclable . you can grind them up and make mulch and a lot of people put them out in their backyards and let birds nest in them.”

It takes 100 years for an artificial tree to breakdown in a landfill, he said.

Most people just think about Christmas trees in December, but for the Kings, it is year round.

“The process really starts in March,” he said. “If we are starting new, we set seedlings out that have been in a seed bed for two years.”

The trees grow about six inches per year for the first two years and then about 12 inches every year after that, said King.

They fertilize the trees in March and April and trim them in June and July, he said.

“A mature tree that we grow, which is of course a premium grade, will take about nine years,” he said.

King wanted to emphasize that they do not spray one drop of Roundup around their trees.

Aside from trees, the Kings offer many services that many people don’t realize, he said, like garland, bows, wreaths, tree stands and delivery.


Information from: The News Herald, https://www.morganton.com

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