Fewer Xmas trees

Fewer Xmas trees

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
If you’re hunting for that perfect real Christmas tree, you may need a little extra time and money to find that tree this season. About 10 years ago, I did a story about the family of a close friend of mine named Cal Ingraham who is basically in the Hall of Fame of Idaho hockey. His parents own a Christmas tree farm up in Massachusetts and the business model is, people come to the farm, get on a wagon, go out to where the trees are and harvest the one they love. Fast forward 10 years… easier said than done today.

There was not what you would call a national shortage of real Christmas trees this year… “but the supply is tight.”

National Christmas Tree Association executive director Tim O'Connor says some lots and farms may run out… “but some are not terribly far away in that community, there is someone else open and we've monitored this very carefully.”

But what's behind this season's tight supply? The answer goes back… “10 years ago, fewer trees were planted because the conditions in the industry were not giving growers the signal that this was a great investment idea.”

A 10 year investment of work from when the trees planted to when a farmer can get any revenue from it.

“That really didn't look good in 2007-2008. During the recession and coming out of a real bad oversupply period.”

So fewer trees planted. But also… “We've lost a lot of growers.” But Pennsylvania Christmas tree grower Larry Snyder says that from a farmer's perspective… “The market is getting closer to where it should be after years of depressed prices.”

So tree hunters will likely see prices $2 to $5 higher this year.

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