Expect to pay a little more for your Christmas tree this year
The Christmas tree market is feeling the crunch - a short supply is putting a strain on farmers and consumers
Inflation is impacting the price of just about everything we buy, and Christmas trees are no different.
Farmers say you should expect to pay a little more for your tree this year. In some cases, there aren’t enough trees to go around. And the cost of growing a tree is rising too.
"I did go up some. You just have to because your prices for everything is going up," said Steve Watson, a tree grower at Twin Pines Nursery in Pineola, North Carolina.
The nursery has been around for over 40 years. Watson says in a normal year, a 6-7 foot tree would sell wholesale for about $25. Now it’s between $45 and $55.
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Fuel is expensive for the nursery’s tractors and chainsaws, and so is fertilizer. Watson says a ton of fertilizer used to be about $180, now it’s anywhere from $800 to $1,200.
The Real Christmas Tree Board said in August that 71% of growers expected wholesale prices to increase five to 15% this year.
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"We really haven’t seen this kind of inflation since to 70s and 80s," said Jill Sidebottom, spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA).
Sidebottom says low supply is a big problem too. The 2008 recession hit farmers hard, so fewer trees were planted around that time.
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"A lot of the farmers were getting older and aging out anyway so a lot of the small and medium-sized growers just went ahead and went out of business," she explained.
It can take 10 to 15 years for a tree to grow, so the effects of 2008 are lingering right now.
"We’re anticipating that it will take a couple more years before the supply equals the demand," Sidebottom said.
Increasing labor and shipping costs are also impacting some growers’ bottom lines.
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Although prices are higher for now, the NCTA has not seen evidence of a decline in people buying trees.