Without Tannenbaum! There is a shortage of Christmas trees – tech2.org

Without Tannenbaum! There is a shortage of Christmas trees


It's just December and it may be too late to get a Christmas tree.

Jessica Kuchinski discovered on Tuesday that her month-old order for a 6-foot spruce and $ 159 was canceled. Julie Prather's favorite and cut lot in the North Carolina mountains sold out last weekend. Christina Doerfel of Kirkland, Washington, and her family plan to get a $ 10 permit at an outdoor store and cut down their own tree this weekend in a federal forest, after receiving a sticker for the high prices and few options in local lots. [19659002] Mrs. Kuchinski pulled a plastic tree out of the basement and went in search of a scented evergreen candle to fill his family's suburban home in Denver. Ms. Prather called half a dozen more lots on Cut-to-Own in North Carolina and all had little or no inventory. So he plans to drive five hours from Savannah, Georgia, on Friday in search of a tree without the certainty that he will find one.

"I'm really disappointed," said Ms. Prather.

This Christmas, live tree supplies are tight. Some batches of Christmas trees are closing almost as soon as they open, citing tree scarcity and presaging a possible national race on firs this weekend, traditionally the busiest of the tree buying season.

Some suppliers blame extreme weather last year. Some blame agriculture for the changes, like the small farmers in Oregon, the largest tree-producing state, turning to grapes and cannabis.

But most producers blame the Great Recession.

It takes seven years to grow 10 tree years. Many farmers planted fewer seedlings or went bankrupt in the years after the housing crash, when consumers reduced spending.

At the same time, the total production area decreased by 30% between 2002 and 2012, according to the latest federal report. available data

Subsequent supply adjustment began last year and buyers of live trees spent an average of $ 74.70, more than double the average in 2011, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, a trade badociation for the tree industry alive To meet the 2016 contracts, some growers cut the trees of this year's crop early, making the 2017 supply even scarcer.

The lack of supply is felt most acutely in states like Florida, Arizona and Illinois, the furthest from Oregon and North Carolina, which account for 37% and 25%, respectively, of Christmas tree production.

Customers are likely to pay at least 10% more than last year for a tree from 5 feet to 7 feet, and up to 20% more for a taller tree, he said

Steve Troxler,

commissioner of agriculture for North Carolina. (Recently he paid $ 200 for his own 14-foot Fraser fir. "I had to pay my price increase like everyone else," he said).

Buyers may need to visit more than one supplier, especially if they are looking for a popular height or popular variety such as Noble or Fraser, said Angie Smith, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, which represents to producers in Oregon and Washington. Retailers like it

House deposit

and Lowe & # 39; s Cos. They have long-standing contracts with tree producers and should have abundant trees for the next few weeks, he said.

"What people will see are small business premises, especially where churches and schools have fundraisers, their supplies are tight," Ms. Smith said

Industry is sensitive to saying there is a shortage, since it implies that there are not enough live trees to meet the demand, "said Tim O & # 39; Connor, spokesman for the national badociation." There is a tree for all who wish, "he said, he could simply require choosing a different provider. or one type of tree.

David Gallagher, who has directed the Pumpkins & Christmas Trees lot at Gallagher in St. Petersburg, Fla., for 30 years, is telling customers that it could close during the season within Two weeks.

"I have people who always want to wait until a week before Christmas, but I would not wait," he said. "The supply is super, super-tight."

He said he's keeping price increases until 5 % for avoid sending people to the competition, what the natural tree calls false trees.

For its part, the artificial-tree industry is saying that traditionalists should see scarcity as a sign to branch out. The trees can be "tall, short, thin, fat, green, silver, white, ombré, rainbow, upside down, real or artificial," according to a Facebook post by the American Tree Tree Association, a trade group for tree producers artificial .

"Do not be discouraged," said the badociation. "That perfect Christmas tree is any kind of Christmas tree that suits your personality and your lifestyle."

The prospect of higher prices sent Ms. Doerfel, of Kirkland, Washington, looking for alternatives. She and her husband have five children, so the holidays are already expensive and hesitate to spend more than $ 60 on a tree. This is how he came up with the idea of ​​going to the forest to find one.

"My husband is not as excited as I am," he said. "But I think it's super fun, just hit a tree on a sled and drag it back."

She's trying to adjust expectations for her children, ages 4 to 18, who are used to choosing a tree worthy of cards Christmas in a batch with hot chocolate and tractor rides.

"What is that type of tree that is much thinner, where the branches are more spread out, a tree" Charlie Brown "?" He said. "I'm going to know that it's not going to be perfect."

Karen Van Buskirk, from southern Illinois, went shopping last weekend hoping to stay close to her traditional $ 15 budget. Normally it's enough for a Douglas fir.

The tree that she and her husband chose already had green paint sprinkled on their branches to keep their appearance fresh. They paid $ 39, more than double their budget.

You will receive your 28-year-old daughter and extended family this weekend for homemade cookies to cut trees and the traditional placement of an Angel of precious moments in the treetop.

"I'll make careless joes and she and I are going to turn on the lights," said Ms. Van Buskirk. "It's having a family together, without their phones, and there's pride in that. You can say:" Look what we've done "# 19659009 Write to Valerie Bauerlein at valerie.bauerlein @ wsj.com

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