Inflation is affecting the price of almost everything we buy, and Christmas trees are no different.
The farmers say you should expect to pay a little more for your tree this year. In some cases, there are not enough trees to go around. And the cost of growing a tree is also increasing.
“I went up a little bit. You just have to because the prices of everything are going up,” said Steve Watson, a tree grower at Twin Pines Nursery in Pineola, North Carolina.
The nursery has existed for more than 40 years. Watson says that in a typical year, a 6- to 7-foot tree would wholesale for about $25. It is now between $45 and $55.
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Fuel is expensive for the nursery’s tractors and chainsaws, as is fertilizer. Watson says a ton of fertilizer used to cost about $180, now it’s $800 to $1,200.
The Real Christmas Tree Board said in August that 71% of growers expected wholesale prices to rise between five and 15% this year.
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“We haven’t really seen this kind of inflation since the ’70s and ’80s,” said Jill Sidebottom, a spokeswoman for the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA).
Sidebottom says low supply is also a big problem. The 2008 recession hit farmers hard, so fewer trees were planted at that time.
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“A lot of the farmers were getting old and old anyway, so a lot of the small and medium-sized growers just went ahead and went out of business,” he explained.
It can take 10-15 years for a tree to grow, so the effects of 2008 linger at this time.
“We anticipate it will be another couple of years before supply matches demand,” Sidebottom said.
Rising labor and shipping costs are also affecting the bottom line for some growers.
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Although prices are higher for now, the NCTA has seen no evidence of a decline in the number of people buying trees.