Oh Christmas Tree! (If You’re Lucky Enough to Get One)

blue spruce Christmas tree

First, it was avocados. Then, it was tequila…er, more specifically, agave. But Christmas trees? The past few months have been challenging for all types of agriculture. Shortages are showing up in the produce section at the grocery store where prices have seen a dramatic hike. Shelves that typically house the wonderful agave-derived nectar in liquor stores are empty. And the Christmas tree industry has taken a hard hit resulting in fewer trees to supply the demand.

There are a number of reasons for the Christmas tree shortage cited recently in the media. Some claim that the cause of the shortage is the result of an 8-year period which began because there was an increase in the number of Christmas tree growers. This resulted in an overage of trees. Sadly, however, there weren’t enough buyers to purchase them. Many of the tree farms failed and ultimately went out of business.

Another possible cause has reportedly been due to the mismanagement of planning for future inventory. A Christmas tree can take anywhere from 7 to 11 years to reach maturity, averaging about one foot of growth each year depending on the species. This means that there is a big gap in time between the seedling being planted and then harvested once it has reached its ideal size. This process requires strategic planning.

Another common reason taking the blame for the Christmas tree shortage is a drought that plagued the west this past summer – not necessarily because trees were lost, but because the cost to water them increased. This has resulted in growers passing along the markup to consumers.

The Oregon Christmas Tree Industry

Oregon is the top producer of Christmas trees followed by Washington, Michigan, and North Carolina. Touted as the Capital of Christmas tree production in the U.S., Oregon has seen a decrease in production by more than 25 percent since 2010. Did you know that roughly 90 percent of Oregon Christmas trees are shipped out of state?

Tree farmers are optimistic that due to the price increase, growers will have a good year, in terms of sales, which will help the industry bounce back. That’s good news to us tree lovers!

Here at Arbor Pro, we love all things trees and we especially love helping homeowners care for theirs. If you have questions about trees, whether it’s a recommendation for picking out the perfect Christmas tree or are concerned about the health of a tree on your property, we are standing by to respond. Give us a call anytime!

Blue Spruce phpto: http://www.ForestWander.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 us (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

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