WAUKEGAN, Ill. (NewsNation) — If you’re still shopping for the perfect Christmas tree, like everything else, expect to pay more this year.
Christmas tree farms across the country say pandemic challenges, increased demand and supply chain disruptions are all affecting the centerpiece of the holiday.
According to the American Christmas Tree Association, prices are up 25% for some parts of America due to droughts and trees not growing fast enough. But for most parts of the U.S., consumers can expect prices to be 10 to 15% higher.
Christmas tree farmers have felt the bite of inflation at every turn, from rising fertilizer costs to fuel costs. But, farmers like Tyler Kroll are doing everything they can to keep the holiday season special for every customer.
“Supply has been down now, majorly, for the last four years,” said Kroll, who owns Kroll’s Farm in Waukegan, Illinois. “But as things got harder to get just in everyday life and you watch grocery stores not have things on specialty items, like Christmas trees and things, it felt like people were more understanding.”
Last year, the price of a cut evergreen averaged $70; this year the price is $80, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
A majority of wholesale growers in August said they expected to increase prices between 5% to 15% compared with last year, according to a survey by the Real Christmas Tree Board.
All of those factor into small farms and pop-up lots adjusting their prices to make a profit.
“It’s the issue of the suppliers are charging more, so I just can’t hold the price I had last year,” said Travis Dillion, who owns Ted Drews Christmas Trees. “I’d love to, but I’m trying to about everything I can.”
Despite keeping an eye on their budget at this time of year, consumers won’t give up on their Christmas cheer.
“Spending extra money to help support a local business is not a big deal. It’s actually spreading it around,” one Christmas tree shopper said.
“When you have a tradition and you have that tradition of having the regular tree, certainly try and shop around a little bit. But at some point, you know the balance point is going to be more than what it has been in the past; so you just pay it,” one Krolls Farm Christmas tree shopper said.
Growers and farmers are forecasting that it will take a couple of more years for the supply to meet the demand. It takes 7 to 15 years to grow trees.
Farmers date the current shortages to the 2008 recession.