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Christmas tree vendors experiencing shortage that could affect selection, prices

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Christmas tree shortage is causing problems for local vendors, and that could affect this year’s selection and prices.

Several factors have gone into the Christmas tree shortage, including some nurseries not planting as many trees due to an expected decline in demand.

2020 also saw an increase in people getting real trees.

“Christmas trees take about 8-11 years [to grow.] So what tree you’re buying this Christmas, somebody planned it a decade ago. So they had to anticipate what the market was going to be back then,” said John Ball, South Dakota State University Extension Forestry Specialist.

Droughts from the last decade have also decreased the supply of Christmas trees, and year’s drought is also affecting the quality of those trees.

“With the drought now, some fields are expressing the drought stress on the trees, you can see the tips are dried and of course we’ll never take a tree like that,” said Kevin Baumgartner, manager of Baumgartner Family Christmas Trees.

Vendors in the Midwest are now looking for new sources to get their trees.

“I have gone all the way to Canada to find some of the Christmas trees that we got,” said Baumgartner.

Even with vendors getting trees from new places, buyers can expect to see less inventory than years past.

“This is the first year that we’ve struggled to find even close to our number of trees and we’re still short several hundred, so it’s going to be a scramble right to the end,” said Baumgartner.

This shortage could be a problem for upcoming years as well.

“The drought we’re seeing last year and this year and the fires on the coast are going to have an impact on sales 10 or 12 years from now,” said Ball.

With the shortage and the cost of transporting the Christmas trees from other locations, buyers should expect the prices to be higher. Baumgartner says he is seeing prices 30% higher than normal.

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