Christmas trees struggle with years of weather to affect appearance, supply and price

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Longer growing seasons help grow Christmas trees, locally and nationally, as the tree supply chain corrects itself.

WHITEHOUSE, Ohio – When Christmas tree farms open for the season, people start watching the forecast for a while to cut down the perfect tree. However, it is really the predictions of the past that matter in shaping holiday trees.

Duke Wheeler of Whitehouse Christmas Tree Farm has been in the tree business for decades and has experienced both bad and good weather. Wheeler said: “This year we planted 5,600 trees, and normally we lose 10-15% to the hot weather. And I only saw seven to ten dead seedlings, which is phenomenal.”

Although the weather was good for the young trees this year; It’s not always the case. Whitehouse Christmas Tree Farm commissioned an engineer to design an irrigation system for the seedlings, as some years rainfall can be scarce.

From year to year, each growing season is different, but data shows that the growing seasons in Northwest Ohio are gradually lengthening. The longer growing season does not interfere with the growth of local trees and helps Wheeler and his team clean up and prepare the farm for vacationers.

Not all holiday trees are grown in Northwest Ohio, as the trees are grown across the country and shipped to local garden centers and nurseries. Zach Edwards of Black Diamond in Perrysburg ships Christmas trees from North Carolina, where the growing season is longer and wetter.

Although Edwards does ship trees, that doesn’t mean there aren’t different challenges.

“I think you’ll find that supplies will be pretty tight. Historically, there probably aren’t as many Christmas tree farms as there have been. And demand is also on the rise like many others. So that can lead to challenges, ”said Edwards. .

During the housing crisis of 2008, trees were in surplus, but as the supply chain began to correct itself, there are now fewer tree growers a decade later.

Edwards mentioned that forest farms don’t want to have that much excess inventory in case something like the recession happens again. Producers try to have a good average number so that they can sell what they plan. Due to the tree buying pattern since 2008, trees have become more expensive, but a bit undersized.

Today’s demand for real trees is increasing from young consumers.

“We are starting to see that the millennials may not like artificial trees as much as previous generations. So they see freshly cut trees as the more sustainable alternative, as trees are planted every time they are planted. they’re cut, ”Edwards said.

What can you expect to pay for your tree this year?

Christmas tree prices have increased in recent years, and this year’s prices are expected to be like last year or slightly increased.

The rise in prices is mainly due to supply and labor. Wheeler said tree prices will not go up significantly, but due to higher wages for summer workers, prices may rise a bit this year. The weather can also drive up the prices of Christmas trees, but this happens over a longer period of time.

If you’re planning on buying a real tree this year, Wheeler and Edwards say the trees will be ready to go around Thanksgiving and urge consumers to buy the perfect tree early.

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