"Our sales were about the same as last year with most customers coming on the first weekend due to the late date of Thanksgiving," Larry said. They've already closed for the season.
Both farmers agreed the selling season was a bit rushed with Thanksgiving falling so late this year.
The Wilkersons have operated their tree farm since 1971. They sell trees for a flat fee of $23 regardless of size or species.
"Those trees not cut stay in the field for sale next season, unlike those sold on a tree lot. It is necessary to reserve a quantity of trees for our regular customers for next year," Larry said.
In 2012, fresh cut trees netted $1.1 billion in sales, according to the National Christmas Tree Association's consumer survey.
The latest Census of Agriculture Tables, from 2007, ranks West Virginia 25th among states in total trees harvested. The last Census conducted in 2002 shows a 30 percent decline in tree harvesting in the state.
Dungey said "any number of factors including, how many landowners are farmers and what do those farmers decided to grow" could make a state more successful than others.
"Christmas trees are probably the most popular crop grown in the country," said Arnold Spitzen, president of the West Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association.
The association represents about 100 farms in the state. They aim to educate growers on proper growing practices and establish lines of communications between growers.
Neighboring Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia rank in the top 10 for total trees harvested by state.
"Years ago Christmas trees were grown only on marginal land, today however site selection has become an important factor in growing quality," Spitzen said. "While West Virginia grows some of the best Christmas trees the state is not considered a major growing state. Most of our growers are family farms and an integral part of the state's economy."
Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.