Across the United States, Christmas trees are in short supply. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the demand for farm-grown Christmas trees is outstripping the supply. In fact, the average price of a natural Christmas tree is up more than seven percent this year. The increase is attributed to both drought and supply chain issues.
This year, the drought has affected growers in several states. In Massachusetts, 20 tree farms have closed. The situation in Maine is worse, with dozens of tree farms in that state suffering from severe drought. And the Pacific Northwest is also suffering from the drought. While the area has experienced multiple years of drought, the drought has been particularly bad this year, with soaking rain and a hot summer. This has resulted in thousands of dead and dying trees.
In the past, California, Oregon and Washington have been the top producers of holiday saplings. But these areas have been hit hard by drought, and are now providing only about 30% to 40% of the national total. In addition, the Pacific Northwest is also dealing with flooding and fires. It’s difficult to plant trees there because the soil is so dry. Many growers have also had to deal with a sharp rise in temperatures.
Aside from the drought, the lack of water is making it tough for trees to grow fast enough for the holiday season. It’s also causing the roots of some trees to rot in moisture. This means the farmers have to wait for new needles to grow, which can take several years. In the meantime, they must dig out shoots by hand and load them onto trucks to sell. The growing process is tedious and time-consuming, and they say the trees are going to come with higher prices.
Even though there’s still a supply of live trees, many growers are warning consumers to expect a much lower selection of trees. Because of the drought and extreme heat in June, some Christmas trees are already shorter than they were last year. This means the average height of a tree is now eight feet.
However, the good news is that there are still some long-needle pine trees available. If you want a live tree, you’ll probably have to plan a few months in advance. But artificial trees aren’t likely to be as limited. In fact, a recent survey by the Labor Department revealed that consumer prices increased 7.7 percent this year. That means you can expect $5 to $10 more for a Christmas tree this year, but it will be harder to find one.
The tree industry is a highly competitive industry and the shortage is expected to worsen in the coming years. As more people choose to decorate their homes with live trees, the number of farms that are open is expected to decrease. And if the drought continues, there’s a chance that some of these farms could go out of business.
While this is an unfortunate situation, it is not something that can be fixed overnight. If you don’t want to risk the weather, you can always buy a pre-cut tree. You may find that the selection isn’t as wide as usual, but if you buy from a third-party seller, you’ll know exactly when the tree was cut.