Christmas tree shortage across the U.S. impacting local suppliers

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Christmas is just three weeks away and if you are still looking for the perfect tree, you may run into a bit of a challenge.

States across the country are experiencing a tight supply of Christmas trees this year.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, and local farmers, major tree producing states have fewer trees to offer this year than past years.

“Right now we’re in a little tree shortage,” said Bob Scott, owner of Prairie Pines Christmas Trees. “I buy trees from Michigan, I ship in trees from North Carolina and in both cases, they cut my order back this year because of their shortage and their tree supply.”

The cause of the shortage is due to the 2007 Great Recession when many farmers were planting fewer crops to save money during a time of slower demand.

“What happens because of the people not planting as many trees and the demand is up, so what happens is, supply and demand,” said Scott. “When it’s a shortage, everyone plants trees and then they get a glut and they go broke. I’ve been here 45 years and I’ve seen about 4 or 5 cycles like this.”

A Derby farmer says he gets about 25% of his trees from Michigan, and he’s experiencing the same problem.

“They just don’t have them available,” said Bob Grelinger, owner of Windy Knoll Christmas Tree Farm.

Even the weather has played a role in the tree shortage.

“In 2011-2012 we lost many trees to dying, to the drought,” said Grelinger. “It does not affect that year, because you may have enough trees left in the field from previous years, but 2 or 3 years later you definitely feel the effect of dry weather.”

Christmas trees can take about eight to 10 years to grow to their optimal size of 7 to 8 feet, which is why consumers are just now seeing the effects.

Despite the shortage, there are still enough trees to go around.

“Now luckily, I have plenty of trees coming on here at the farm,” said Scott.

The demand for real trees is growing, with the average cost of a tree at $78, according to the NCTA’s 2018 survey.

“I think young people are gravitating more to a real tree, it’s more expensive, of course it is, but it’s a lot more fun,” said Scott.

Local Christmas Tree Farms:

Locations:Address:Hours:
Prairie Pines Christmas Tree4055 N Tyler Rd
Maize, KS 67101
Mon-Fri: 3 – 6 p.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun: noon – 5 p.m.
Windy Knoll Christmas Tree Farm15630 E 47th St S #8376
Derby, KS 67037
Mon-Fri: 2 – 5 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun: 1 – 5 p.m.
Pine Lake Christmas Tree Farm6802 Oliver
Derby, KS 67037
Mon-Fri: 2 – 6p.m.
Sat: 9 am.m – 6 p.m.
Sun: 1 – 6p.m.
Marietta Farm1600 E, US-54
Andover, KS 67002
Mon-Sun: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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