National Christmas tree shortage impacting prices locally

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — For most families the holidays have been different because of the pandemic.

One tradition that’s being kept alive is going out and picking out a Christmas tree. But this year, it may cost you a little more.

A national Christmas tree shortage has been going on for years now and is starting to catch up with the demand.

This year, when you go to your local tree farm, you might notice pricing has changed.

“Maybe almost $10 or $20 up now,” said Steven Morrow, tree lot manager at Bryan Wagoner’s Tree Farm in Greensboro.

“I’ve been working with the Wagoners since I was about 12 years old,” Morrow said.

He saw how the 2008 recession impacted tree farmers — resulting in a national Christmas tree shortage.

That’s why their prices went up.

“Twelve years ago, farmers stopped planting and everything and now we’re still trying to catch up,” Morrow said.

It’s not a quick fix because trees take time to mature.

Morrow said for every foot, it takes an entire year for that tree to grow.

For Phil Blattenberger and his daughter, Zoe, picking a tree is a tradition.

“She’s 7 now, so every year it’s been a traditional thing,” he said.

That’s why he doesn’t mind paying a little extra for the smile behind his daughter’s mask.

“It’s been a crazy year for everybody, it’s been really difficult. All of a sudden, we’ve got a vaccine on the way, everybody is feeling a little bit hopeful despite the lockdowns,” Blattenberger said. “This is a little of a morsel of normality that we can cling to and as much as everything else is terrible, hey, we got Christmas at our house.”

At Hickory Creek Farm in Greensboro, workers said it seems like people are panic-buying everything from trees to holiday décor. Employees there said they sold a regular season’s worth of trees in the past nine days.

Because wholesale suppliers are able to name their prices, the market has become more competitive. That’s why over the past two years, Hickory Creek employees said trees have gone up about $10 total.

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