Americans might find it hard to find a tree to decorate this holidays season and should expect to pay up to 30 percent more if they do — as supply chain woes and extreme weather impact the supply of both real and artificial trees, industry officials have warned.
“It’s a double whammy — weather and supply chain problems are really hampering the industry,” said Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association, an industry trade group, told the Associated Press. “Growers have been hard hit by floods, fires, smoke, drought, extreme weather conditions.”
Record wildfires in the Pacific Northwest in June decimated tree farms in two of the nation’s largest growers, Oregon and Washington, Warner said.
Crystal River Christmas Trees owner Dale Pine and his nephew Stacy Valenzuela said they have struggled to get enough stock to sell at their lot in Alameda, California because its Oregon suppliers lost so much crop.
Americans could pay up to 30 percent more this year for a Christmas tree.
“It was looking pretty grim for a while,” Valenzuela told the AP. “Every single day you’re on the phone checking, ‘Hey, you got anything? If you do, send it my way.’ So a lot of work to get these trees on the ground this year.”
Meanwhile, a shortage of truck drivers is compounding the problem by making it slower and more expensive to transport live trees from farms to stores or tree lots.
And fake trees won’t solve the problem either. Driver shortages and delays at ports are clamping down on supply and driving up prices for artificial trees, too, according to one retailer.
Caroline Tuan, chief operating officer for Balsam Hill, an online retailer of artificial Christmas trees, said they have had to raise prices by about 20 percent this year.
“We have to bring our products over from our factories (in China), and that has been very challenging,” Tuan told the AP.
The price of artificial Christmas trees is also up because of supply chain issues.
“All of that has impacted us, which means that we have fewer trees to sell as an industry.”
Warner said it is difficult to estimate how many fewer real trees there will be this year but because they take up to a decade to grow, the loss of crop could be felt for many Christmas seasons to come.Internet Explorer Channel Network