CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) – Rising inflation and shipping challenges will likely increase the price of your Christmas tree this year and leave some varieties in short supply. Christmas tree sellers, including farms and lots, are experiencing the same issues plaguing other industries. “The input costs, gasoline, fertilizer, all well up over 50%,” said Ken Reeves, owner of Mountain Creek Tree Farm in Concord, Ohio.
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Reeves said rising costs will be passed on to customers, who he said should expect to pay at least 10% more for a live tree this year. “The consumer is going to see an increase likely in their Christmas tree prices this year because our input costs and our wage costs are up,” he said.
Some tree farms are even moving to appointment scheduling to try to balance crowds with a limited workforce. Reeves, who sells a mix of cut-your-own trees grown on his farm and pre-cut trees delivered from about 130 miles away, said some pre-cut trees are in short supply this year.
Christmas tree supply was determined seven to 10 years ago, when this year’s crop of trees was planted. Supply has traditionally closely aligned with demand, but Christmas tree growers are still recovering from a surge in demand last year as more people headed outdoors amid the pandemic.
“No doubt, it’s not smooth sailing,” National Christmas Tree Association Executive Director Tim O’Connor said.
O’Connor said members’ costs have risen, and rising trucking and transportation costs are likely to have the largest impact on lots selling pre-cut trees. “If they’re taking on higher costs to get the trees to their location and to run their lots during the season, it’s likely they’ll pass that cost on,” O’Connor said.
Import and shipping backlogs are also leading to shortages and price spikes for artificial trees and leaving shelves bare in Reeves’s gift shop, which will not receive new items in time for opening weekend.
Reeves said prices for the order of new items have also increased twice since he first placed it in April. “I’m still waiting for that to supply my shop,” he said.
While he does not expect to run out of trees, Reeves suggested shopping early for popular varieties such as firs. “We’ve never run out of Christmas trees ever as an industry, and we don’t anticipate any problems with that this year,” he said.
Though he added, “The pickings are going to get narrower, that’s for sure.”