‘A critical state’: Christmas tree farmers say shortage is a reality

Click to play video: 'Christmas tree farmers say shortage is a reality'
Christmas tree farmers say shortage is a reality
WATCH: If you haven’t picked up your Christmas tree yet, securing that perfect holiday staple may be a challenge. Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Dec 1, 2021

It’s Dec. 1 and that means Christmas is just around the corner.

If you haven’t put up your tree this year, securing that perfect holiday staple may be a challenge, according to the Canadian Christmas Trees Association.

READ MORE: Farmers anticipate a record year for Christmas tree sales

All across North America supply shortages are being felt, driven by increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s not a Canadian issue, it’s a North American issue and that’s the dilemma,” executive director Shirley Brennan said.

Christmas trees were a $100-million industry in Canada in 2020, doubling their value since 2015.

Some $49-million worth of product is exported mostly to the U.S., according to Brennan.

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Click to play video: 'High Christmas tree demand in Edmonton: ‘When these trees are gone, they’re gone’'
High Christmas tree demand in Edmonton: ‘When these trees are gone, they’re gone’

Phil Quinn, the co-owner of Quinn Farm, just west of Montreal, says demand has been at an all-time high this season.

The U-Pick option where customers choose and cut down their own tree is completely booked solid for the season — earlier than anticipated.

Quinn adds that demand over the last 10 years has “been wild.” He says he was forced to buy additional trees from wholesalers to sell at his farm since he didn’t grow enough on his own property to meet the demand he expects this year.

“We’ve been selling a bit too much every year and now we’re in a critical state where we have the demand for 3,000 trees and we only have 1,000 to offer,” Quinn said.

That’s an issue felt across the board with farmers.

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“The demand has risen too much. We just couldn’t keep up with the 10-year cycle,” Brennan said.

READ MORE: Heat dome, flooding wreak havoc on B.C. Christmas tree supply

As for prices, customers might have sticker shock with firs and spruces costing a bit more green this year.

The Canadian Christmas Trees Association says basic economics — supply and demand — play a role in the price jump. Also, the price of farming is a major factor in the 10-year growing cycle of the iconic evergreen.

On top of that, mother nature hasn’t been cooperating, Brennan said. From unseasonal frost in the east and scorching droughts in the west, the weather has also been harming crops.

“Mother nature in any form or commodity is your silent partner,  but sometimes she comes out and rules with a hard thumb and that’s what she is doing right now for us,” Brennan said.

Click to play video: 'Christmas tree shortage for 2021'
Christmas tree shortage for 2021

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