Christmas tree lots around B.C. say they’ve had to raise prices by about five per cent thanks to a tree shortage that was a decade in the making.
“I think it’s a sticker shock for lots of customers,” Tom Van Der Pauw, owner of Triple Tree Nurseryland in Maple Ridge, said. “Our prices have gone up in the last couple of years probably about 30 per cent.”
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the shortage is the result of the 2008 recession, which led to far fewer trees being planted in the U.S.
“Christmas tree sales were down, prices were down and so during those years — in ’06, ’07, ’08 — we were not selling as many so we didn’t have the space available to replant,” Doug Hundley of the National Christmas Tree Association said.
It takes seven to 10 years for a tree to fully grow, meaning the shortage has only been felt recently and it could take years for the market to correct.
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“I think it would be nice if it levelled off now,” Van Der Pauw said. “I don’t want to see another 10 to 15 per cent increase in the next year or two.”
While garden centres with long-time relationships with suppliers have been able to get stock, some smaller vendors have been left behind.
“You’ll notice less tree lots around,” Wim Vander Zalm, owner of Art Knapp, said. “What might happen is there’s going to be some trees that are not going to be available.”
Even with higher prices, popular types like the Noble fir are likely to sell out soon.