Why Christmas trees are pricier this year

Special to The Log
Workers evaluate trees at a Christmas tree farm in Florida. [SPECIAL TO THE LOG]

Homeowners will have to reach deeper in their pockets to afford a real Christmas tree this year because of lower supplies that are contributing to a 10 percent hike in prices over last year, The New York Times reported.

“We’re not going to be short; everybody looking for a real tree will be able to get one,” said Doug Hundley, a spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association. “But it is a tight market, and prices will rise.”

While the average buyer spent $36.50 on a Christmas tree in 2008, that figure jumped to $74.70 in 2016. Fewer consumers purchased Christmas trees during the financial crisis in 2008, and growers responded by cutting down fewer trees to sell. As a result, there was less space to plant replacements — which has the effect of smaller selections today, the Times reports.

“It’s not like buying plastic cups. You can’t just turn a tree out in a factory,” said Darren Nicholson, assistant manager at the Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm in Waynesville, North Carolina. “Once you cut it, you have to wait 10 years to replace it.”

Also, there are fewer farmers growing firs, spruces, and pines for the holiday season. Oregon, the top state for tree exports, has seen the number of licensed growers drop from 699 in 2010 to 392 today. Further, droughts and recent wildfires have limited the selections at tree farms. Buyers who wait until mid-December may have limited selections, Hundley warned.

This article was contributed to The Log by National Association of Realtors.