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Nationwide Christmas tree shortage meets increased demand in pandemic

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Posted at 2:30 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 14:30:00-05

Christmas tree sellers around the country are struggling with shortages for a variety of reasons including wildfires in the west, the coronavirus pandemic and the 2008 recession.

Exacerbating existing supply issues is a rise in demand for real trees in 2020 as people are home more with coronavirus pandemic safety measures, and want the aroma and feel of a real tree.

California Christmas tree farmers are reporting a surge in attendance at their locations so far this year. The National Christmas Tree Association says there was an “unprecedented level” of early inquiries from customers wanting to know when tree farms would open this fall.

Christmas tree sellers from New York to California are selling out fast because of the high demand and fewer trees to sell.

The issue is impacting would-be Christmas tree shoppers in Canada, too.

The Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association says following the 2008 recession, Christmas tree farmers in North America didn’t plant as many trees as usual and didn’t move ahead with planned expansions until later.

Since it takes 6-10 years for a tree to grow and be ready for ornaments and lights, some of those post-2008 decisions are still impacting supply.

The National Christmas Tree Association has reported a smaller supply of harvestable trees since 2015 because of fewer trees being planted.

Drought conditions and several years of intense wildfires in the western U.S. and Canada as well as the mid-Atlantic states have also taken a toll on Christmas tree farms, destroying their trees or limiting growth opportunities.

The surge in coronavirus cases is also limiting the availability of Christmas trees around the country, as some suppliers and sellers are making the difficult decision to close or reduce hours and capacity to keep staff and shoppers safe.

For those with a National forest nearby, the U.S. Forest Service allows people to cut down a tree from their lands with a few conditions. Click here for more information.