Want a Christmas tree this year? Shortage means you should buy early, experts say

Wake County News

APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — From low supply to shipping backlogs, experts are telling Christmas tree shoppers to buy one sooner rather than later – and that goes for both real and artificial trees.

It was opening weekend at Jordan Lake Christmas Tree Farm in Apex. The farm’s co-owner, Byron May, said it was one of, if not the busiest, opening weekends in his more than 25 years in business.

He said demand for real trees is higher than supply right now. He said he has about 25 percent fewer trees to sell than he would like.

“I’m not gonna be able to get the number of trees that I wanted, at least the Fraser firs, so I’m concerned that after the December weekend, supply is gonna be tight,” May said.

He’s noticed an increased demand in the past three to four years but said growers in the North Carolina mountains are behind that demand, noting many have retired in recent years. May grows some of his own trees and gets Fraser firs from the mountains.

“I hate to turn anyone away that wants to come out and get a real tree,” May said. “All we can do is sell what we can get and make as many people happy as we can.”

Artificial trees are also facing roadblocks. Jami Warner, the American Christmas Tree Association’s Executive Director, said there are shipping backlogs, so many artificial trees and decorations are sitting on container ships in the ocean instead of on-store shelves.

“Now they are trickling in, but retailers are telling us they have about 45 percent of inventory when they should have about 70 percent at this time of the year,” Warner said.

She said Christmas trees cost 10 percent to 30 percent more this year.

May said his trees are similarly priced to last year, but about $4-$5 from recent years, which he said is due to higher prices from growers and increased transportation costs.

Experts said you don’t need a Christmas miracle to find a tree, just shop early.

“We encourage consumers to buy early, if they see something they like, buy it,” Warner said.

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