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The final stage of cultivation, harvesting, is carried out in a number of ways; one of the more popular methods is the pick-your-own tree farm, where customers are allowed to roam the farm, select their tree, and cut it down themselves.
In North America, Fraser fir, grown in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, has been called the "Cadillac of Christmas Trees" as well as the "most popular and most valuable of Christmas tree species".
Many of the conifer species cultivated face infestations and death from such pests as the balsam woolly adelgid, other adelgids and aphids.
Certain species of birds are also considered pests, including the pine grosbeak, which feeds on conifer buds, The Department of Agriculture's United States Standards for Grades of Christmas Trees took effect on October 30, 1989, covering "sheared or unsheared trees of the coniferous species which are normally marketed as Christmas trees".
Christmas trees can be harvested and marketed in different ways.
There are 16 elements crucial for growth; of those, three are obtained through air and water: hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen.
Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, copper, chlorine, manganese, molybdenum, iron, and zinc are obtained from the soil.
Christmas tree farming was once seen only as a viable alternative for low-quality farmland, but that perception has changed within the agriculture industry.
For optimum yield and quality, land should be flat or gently rolling and relatively free of debris and undergrowth.
Severe cold in the winter and extreme hot and dry conditions during and after harvest can cause irreparable damage to the crop.
Christmas tree farming is a labor-intensive process.