Typically New Brunswick doesn’t get snow until late December, giving Christmas tree growers in the area the chance to harvest in the time for the holidays.
Red Robin Christmas Trees & Maple Syrup owner Jerry Redmond says this year’s late frost and early snow caused substantial damage to Christmas trees in southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
“The buds had already emerged from the trees and at that stage they are very sensitive to temperature and anything else, and it just happened that there was a frost and its killed back a lot of those buds which really destroyed that year’s growth,” Redmond says.
The growth conditions of the tree at early stages will affect their shape once fully grown. That lack of growth means fewer sales for tree growers in hard hit areas.
“You may not even by able to sell them because those trees need to recover for another season in order to be looking like a normal Christmas tree,” says Redmond.
This shortage has caused a buy-now mentality, and since Redmond’s farm was not affected, he’s slated to sell a record 1,400 trees this year
“I have seen and upswing of people that have come out to the farm. So we are actually ahead of where we would have been last year with the total number of trees sold.”
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If widespread late frost occurs again next year, it will create a shortage of trees which will affect the economics of the trade.
“It would significantly affect the industry. In some cases they require the money from these trees for each of their years of harvest to keep their sort of programs going in many cases so two years where they get hit like that could have a huge impact on the industry,” says Dr. Rob Johns a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service.
That impact to the industry could make it hard to find a Christmas tree in the future.
“A lot of frost damage multiple years in a row, you could start seeing some of the smaller operations start to close down and that could make it more of a challenge to find a Christmas tree.”
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