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Growers hold back Christmas trees amid shortageGrowers hold back Christmas trees amid shortage

Drought, grower retirements and supply-chain snags have tightened supplies of evergreens.

Farm Press Staff

December 10, 2021

2 Min Read
Scientists check for pine shoot needles at a tree farm in Michigan. The West's extreme drought has prompted growers to avoid cutting some trees.USDA ARS

As drought, grower retirements and supply-chain issues have led to a Christmas tree shortage this winter, growers are managing their crop to make sure some trees are still in the ground for future holiday seasons, a farm group is reporting.

A steady stream of customers is showing up at tree lots, but fewer trees are available as drought affected the number of trees that were cut for sale and a trucker shortage has complicated efforts to bring trees in from elsewhere in the country, the California Farm Bureau reports.

Supplies have also been impacted by farmer retirements, as few new growers have come along to replace those who quit, according to the organization.

The industry, like others, is also struggling with inflationary pressures as the U.S. emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Examiner notes.

Record-breaking heat and wildfires in late June took a heavy toll on tree farms in Oregon and Washington, two main suppliers, The Associated Press reports.

“It’s a double whammy — weather and supply chain problems are really hampering the industry,” Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association, told the wire service. “Growers have been hard hit by floods, fires, smoke, drought, extreme weather conditions.”

The availability of artificial trees has also been diminished, however, because many of them are made in China and have had trouble getting through backlogged West Coast ports, the Examiner observed.

Many Americans eager to celebrate Christmas with their families are willing to pay higher prices for trees, according to the newspaper. But one farm east of Sacramento started a new reservation system to control crowds on Thanksgiving weekend, according to the Farm Bureau. Another grower told the CFB she avoided cutting some trees because she feared they would be a fire danger for customers.

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