Sunday, February 18, 2018
Natural Christmas Trees are a Lot More Expensive this Year
12/2/2017 7:48:06 AM
Arthur J. Villasanta - Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) - Christmas Trees are going to a lot more expensive in some states and they can thank the Big Recession of 2008 for this sad state of affairs.

The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) estimates prices for farm-raised Christmas trees might increase anywhere from 5% to 10% because real trees are in short supply this year. Add to this the fact there are far fewer Christmas tress farms compared to a decade ago, resulting in a dearth in supply, and the scenario makes sense.

The cost of shipping the tress is also more expensive on account of higher diesel prices.

NCTA said 27.4 million Christmas trees were sold in 2016. The most popular varieties were Noble and Fraser firs. Americans spent an average of $74.70 for a Christmas tree last year.

NCTA is the national trade association representing the farm-grown Christmas tree industry. It represents 29 state and regional associations, and more than 4,000 affiliated farms that grow and sell Christmas trees and businesses that provide related supplies and services.

NCTA explained that the Great Recession of 2008 caused a dramatic drop in Christmas tree sales that year and the years thereafter. Christmas tree farms didn't cut down as many trees as they normally would due to the weak demand. That left less room in the groves to plant seedlings.

NCTA noted that since a Christmas tree takes about a decade to reach a height of seven to eight feet, which is the size most families prefer for their trees, growers now don't have as many to cut and sell.

"We believe everyone who wants to have a real tree will find one," said Doug Hundley, NCTA spokesman.

"They may not have the size they want or they might have to buy a different kind (because) we have a tight market."

This dearth in supply will continue in the years ahead. The number of Christmas tree growers was drastically reduced during the Great Recession and the numbers haven't significantly improved.

"There were a lot of tree growers that went out of business," said Dee Clark, owner of C&G Nursery in Newland, N.C. "That leads to an overall shortage across the industry.

There are currently 15,000 Christmas tree farms in the USA. States that grow the most trees are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.

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