Christmas Tree Farmers In North Carolina Experience Shortage Due To Recession

Evergreen trees lined up in rows at a Christmas tree farm.
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Greg Schneider with High Country Christmas Trees recently spoke with reporters about the Christmas tree shortage in the foothills of North Carolina. The 2008 recession is to blame for a Christmas tree shortage. Picking out a Christmas tree is a family tradition for many, but with the shortage, it could mean increasing costs for consumers. The trees that Schneider sells take 10 to 15 years to grow, which is why there’s a shortage now, reports Waay TV.

High Country Christmas Trees said that it’s been bringing Christmas to Huntsville, North Carolina, for the last 35 years. The company transports trees from Boone, North Carolina, to the Tennessee Valley. But, 10 years ago, the shaky economy took a toll on the Christmas tree industry.

“Prices have gone up a little bit. People are scrambling. They’re asking a lot more money for trees now that there is a shortage. In the recession, 2008, a lot of the neighbors were just unable, did not have the cash to put into replanting trees, so a lot of people were not able to plant trees.”

George Brown with Valley Head Christmas Tree Plantation grows all of his own trees — but says that he saw a decline in the availability of trees over the last few years as well. Even though Brown remarked that he does not believe Hurricane Michael directly impacted the current crops, many are questioning whether it did.

“Those are very temporary events. They will have an impact, yes, when we have a drought. A serious, serious drought, we may lose a year’s planting.”

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Even though there seems to be a shortage, many families are sticking with tradition and picking out the best live trees they can find, rather than opting for faux trees. One batch of customers, John King and his family, have been picking out trees from Valley Head Christmas Tree Plantation for the last 14 years. King spoke with reporters at Waay TV, saying that he and his family would travel elsewhere to get a family Christmas tree if they had to.

“Some of the places that we’ve lived, we’ve had to travel quite a distance to get to a tree farm, so I can’t imagine we’d do anything else.”

Vermont is also feeling the effects of the 2008 recession while dealing with a Christmas tree shortage this year, reports NBC News. Shoppers around Montpelier, Vermont, report having to pay more — or search harder — for a tree this holiday season. A co-owner of Finestking Christmas tree farm in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, remarked on the shortage, saying that this is the “worst [he’s] seen in a long time.”