Fraser fir trees have become the largest agricultural product in the northern mountain region of North Carolina. Most Fraser fir producers purchase their seedlings for transplant into their own beds. These seedlings are grown outside and are generally purchased at three years of age. During that time, a great deal of labor and chemicals are used to grow the seedlings.
This producer grew her own seedlings in a greenhouse. She is convinced that greenhouse-grown seedlings can reach the same height as traditionally grown three-year seedlings, in six months. She also feels that due to the controlled greenhouse climate that she will have fewer pest and disease problems and so will have less need to use chemicals. Also, she can adjust the seedlings growth cycles so they aren’t dormant, speeding up their growth. She will measure growth, survival, and costs of inputs and labor.