Growing and selling Christmas trees is a multi-million-dollar industry in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, tree farms in 2016 made more than $77 million and Canada exported more than $43 million in Christmas trees.
“We’ve been coming to tree farms since we were kids,” said Amanda Preston, as she wandered through rows of trees. “We wanted to start that family tradition with my young family too.”
She isn’t alone. Owner of Barrett’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cobourg, Diana Barrett, said she has noticed an increase in business in the last few years.
“In the past few years, we have noticed an increase,” she said. “The thing I notice is people come earlier and earlier every year. They are looking to get into that Christmas spirit.”
And while Barrett said their business is growing, this year, a Christmas tree shortage is plaguing the industry. Barrett said trees take about 10 years to reach maturity. In 2008, in some case, fewer trees were planted because of a down economy.
Experts say the weather has also played a role in a shortage on the East Coast.
Barrett said she has found more people are looking for the experience of finding their own tree.
“They like the tradition of coming and looking through the trees and picking one with their friends and family,” Barrett said. “More people are going back to that.”
She also said that she thinks people are realizing getting a real Christmas tree is better for the environment.
When it comes to sustainability, experts say that while you are cutting down a tree, sourcing a real Christmas tree from a local farm is your “greener” option.
“This supports that industry locally, keeps that money circulating in the community and those tree farms are actually carbon sinks,” said the resource co-ordinator at the Peterborough GreenUp.
Barrett said each season, they typically sell about 1,000 trees and plant about 1,500 annually.
As far as the price, in the Peterborough area, the average real tree will run you about $50, depending on variety and size.
Barrett said the most popular types of trees, for them, are Balsam and Fraser Fir, White and Blue Spruce and Scotch Pine.