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Monday, January 24, 2022

Buyers of Christmas trees will face reduced supplies and higher prices

Author: TERENCE CHEA

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Even Christmas trees are not immune to the pandemic-induced deficit and inflation hitting the economy.

Extreme weather conditions and supply chain disruptions have resulted in reduced supplies of both real and artificial trees this season. US shoppers should expect to have fewer choices and pay 30% more for both types of merchandise this Christmas, industry officials said.

“This is a double whammy: the weather and supply chain problems are really getting in the way of the industry,” said Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Trees Association, a trade group. “Farmers have been hit hard by floods, fires, smoke, drought and extreme weather conditions.”

Record heat waves and wildfires in late June severely damaged Christmas tree farms in Oregon and Washington, two of the nation’s largest growers.

Warner was unable to estimate how many fewer trees there will be this year, but since it takes up to 10 years to grow, crop loss will be felt for many seasons to come.

A shortage of truck drivers makes it difficult and expensive to transport live trees from farms to shops and forest areas.

Warner Tip: Shop early. If you see something that you like, buy it. “

Crystal River Christmas tree owner Dale Pine and his nephew Stacy Valenzuela have struggled to get enough trees to sell on their Alameda site. Many of her suppliers in Oregon have lost their trees due to the extreme heat, measured in three-digit numbers.

“It looked pretty dark for a while,” Valenzuela said. “Every single day you check on the phone:“ Hey, do you have anything? If yes, send it to me. ” So this year there is a lot of work to be done to plant these trees on the ground. ”

Crystal River has had to raise prices this year, Valenzuela said, as costs for trees, labor and delivery of trucks have risen.

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Alameda resident Jan Steplowski traveled to the Crystal River lot to buy a silver tree with his wife and two young children the day after Thanksgiving.

“We lack everything, and of course we need Christmas trees,” Steplovsky said. “I definitely notice that things have gotten a little more expensive this year.”

This year Teri Schaffert heard about the lack of real trees and decided to buy an artificial tree for the first time. Almost a week before Thanksgiving, she went shopping at the Burlington showroom in Balsam Hill, where artificial trees are mostly sold online.

“I came early because I heard on the news that there won’t be enough fresh trees,” said Schaffert, who lives in nearby San Mateo. Her husband is unhappy with the change. “What else can we do? I have to be prepared for the future because I love Christmas. I love decorating.”

But the artificial tree industry is grappling with its own supply problems as clogged ports and lack of truck drivers delay deliveries and drive up costs, said Caroline Tuan, chief operating officer of Balsam Hill. The company’s trees this year have become more expensive by about 20%, and the varieties have decreased.

“We have to bring our products from our factories (in China) and it was very difficult,” Tuan said. “All of this affected us, which means we have fewer trees to sell.”

Concerns about drought and drought led David Cruise and his wife to the Balsam Hill showroom to buy their first artificial tree this year.

“In the grand scheme of climate change here in California, this is really the right path,” said Cruise, who lives in Brentwood. “The sooner everyone agrees with the artificial tree, the sooner they will like it.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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