This year’s Christmas tree shortage started a while ago

Nov 29, 2017, 4:30 AM | Updated: 11:43 am
(Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)...
(Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
(Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
LISTEN: What with this Christmas tree shortage?

The Christmas tree shortage of 2017 began over eight years ago.

One of the first victims of the Great Recession were Christmas tree growers.

Many were farmers of other crops who grew trees as a sideline business for extra income. But the recession hit the country in the pocket book and American’s responded by tightening their belts and doing away with frilly expenses, like Christmas trees. Many bought their first artificial trees and have not gone back.

And as farmers got clobbered, many turned to other crops and never went back to growing Christmas trees.

Flash forward eight-plus years.

“Now the trend is kind of returning,” said Janice Black, Manager at Whitfill Nursery. “There is a shortage now because so many of the older farmers have been put out of business.”

Blake speculates the farmers sold the properties they possessed to grow Christmas trees.

What does this mean locally?

Local nurseries like Moon Valley and Whitfill are in pretty good shape.

“We do a lot of business directly with our farms, and we plan ahead and the farms know that we’re always going to have a demand so they make sure and take care of us,” said John Pavlik, with Moon Valley Nursery.

Pavlik says his stock is fresh, having been harvested just four days ago and trucked down from Oregon express.

“We have a good base of loyal customers and we anticipate how many we’re going to sell based on what we did in previous years,” Pavlik continues, “We are hearing there’s some shortages, so our customers might get pressed by customers who aren’t [regular buyers].”

Blake said another challenge faced by growers is drought and climate change.

“Our climate is changing,” She contends, “we’ve become a little bit drier, a little bit warmer, it has become a problem for some areas of the country, especially the Northwest.”

Blake says growers can’t just pick up and move further north due to the shipping costs.

As with many consumers when faced with a shortage of something at Christmas time, the earlier you can get your tree, the better.

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This year’s Christmas tree shortage started a while ago