Inflation affects the price of almost everything we buy, and Christmas trees are no different.
Farmers say you should expect a little more for your tree this year. In some cases there aren’t enough trees to bypass them. And the cost of growing a tree also increases.
“I climbed a bit. You just have to do it because your prices for everything are going up,” said Steve Watson, an arborist at Twin Pines Nursery in Pineola, North Carolina.
The day care center has been in existence for over 40 years. Watson says in a normal year a 6-7 foot tree would sell wholesale for about $25. Now it’s between $45 and $55.
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Fuel is expensive for the nursery’s tractors and chainsaws, as is fertilizer. According to Watson, a ton of fertilizer used to cost around $180, but now it’s between $800 and $1,200.
The Real Christmas Tree Board said in August that 71% of growers expected wholesale prices to rise by 5% to 15% this year.
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“We really haven’t seen this kind of inflation since the ’70s and ’80s,” said Jill Sidebottom, spokeswoman for the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA).
Sidebottom says the low supply is also a big problem. The 2008 recession hit farmers hard, so fewer trees were planted at the time.
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“A lot of farmers were getting older and aging anyway, so a lot of the small and medium-sized growers just went on and went out of business,” she explained.
It can take 10 to 15 years for a tree to grow, so the effects of 2008 are still felt.
“We expect it will take a few more years for supply to match demand,” Sidebottom said.
Rising labor and shipping costs are also affecting the bottom line for some growers.
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Although prices are higher for now, the NCTA hasn’t seen any signs that the number of people buying trees has decreased.