The Van Trump Report

Plenty of Christmas Trees Expected This Year But Be Prepared to Pay More

Real Christmas tree fans will be happy to hear that there should be a plentiful supply this year after a shortage of both real and fake trees in 2021. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Christmas tree prices have escaped the inflation plague with wholesalers expecting to lift prices anywhere from +5% to +20% over last year.

A survey by Real Christmas Tree Board found 98% of growers who supply two-thirds of the US Christmas trees were planning to charge more in the face of skyrocketing labor, shipping, and raw materials costs. According Bob Shaefer, CEO of Noble Mountain Tree Farm, a 4,000 acre wholesale farm in Salem, Oregon, that produces half a million trees a year, production costs in the agricultural sector have actually climbed far more than consumer inflation. Wholesale Christmas tree growers reported operating costs anywhere from +10% to +20% higher, with chemical and fertilizer prices alone up +40% and +80%, respectively.

Shaefer notes that transportation has by far seen the biggest cost increase, which was also the top concern for growers in the Real Christmas Tree Board’s survey. And amid a national truck driver shortage, some wholesalers are worried about transportation availability as most trees are transported by truck. “For our farms, they’re all challenged about getting their products from point A to point B for the holiday season and how much more it’s going to cost them,” Shaefer told CNN.

Christmas tree supplies last year were the victim of both weather setbacks and lingering pandemic supply chain snags. Extreme weather, including wildfires, drought, and heat waves took a toll on tree farms in the Pacific Northwest. Some farmers in Oregon lost as much as 90% of their trees. The Christmas tree supply has also been lean in previous years due to the recession in 2008 which led to farmers planting fewer trees, resulting in low inventories about ten years later. Tree supplies are mostly recovered from that setback now and most tree farms say they don’t anticipate any shortages.    

Experts say retailers may be able to absorb some of the higher tree costs this year but will likely need to pass some on to consumers. As for whether consumers will pay more for their favorite fir or spruce, “They told us that they do expect to pay more for trees because of overall inflation but that they’re still going to buy their tree,” said Marsha Gray, executive director of Real Christmas Tree Board. (Sources: CNN, Time)

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