There are two problems this year with Christmas trees. Or must we call them holiday trees? Never mind. A topic for another day. To start, the National Christmas Tree Association said trees this year will be 10% higher than last year.
Spokesman Doug Hundley said, “We’re not going to be short — everybody looking for a real tree will be able to get one. But it is a tight market, and prices will rise.”
Oregon is the nation’s top Christmas tree exporter. Washington and North Carolina aren’t far behind. Last year growers cut 27.4 million trees and generated about $2 billion in income. That income will now take a huge hit. The Oregon Department of Agriculture said the number of licensed Christmas tree growers fell from 699 in 2010 to 392 this year. Drought and wildfires as well as the recession took its toll on growers.
Problem two? You won’t find as many shopping choices this year as in the past. Many who have done Christmas tree lots in years gone by could not find enough trees to purchase this year to open. That, too, is going to cause prices to rise.
By the way, USA TODAY did research on the average cost of a Christmas tree. It said last year the average hit $74.70. In 2008 the average buyer paid $36.50.
The year 2008 leads us to the problem’s cause. The association blames the Great Recession which hit tree growers hard in 2008. Fewer trees were planted because growers couldn’t afford to grow them. Trees take eight or nine years to mature into the perfect Christmas tree so now we’re seeing the results.
Problem three. Fewer trees are being seen in some areas is because of the cost of getting trees transported. Fuel costs are up 46 cents a gallon over a year ago.
Last. This isn’t a one-year phenomenon. GWD Forestry — the forestry project investment company — said the shortage of trees could be with us until 2025.
Hundley’s advice is don’t wait until mid-December to pick up a tree. Selection is going to be awful by that time. That said, Hundley added, “You can take a Charlie Brown tree and decorate it and it will look just as good as the prettiest tree on the lot.”
Source links: Time, The New York Times, Modern Farmer