Now that the Thanksgiving turkey has been picked clean, it’s time to talk Christmas, Christmas trees in particular. We’ve been hearing in the national media that there is a shortage of live trees. Bill Glenn, Marketing Specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture in Asheville, specializing in Christmas trees:
“A lot of what we’re hearing of Christmas tree shortages are in parts of the country that aren’t close to major growing regions. There are definitely some shortages in the United States. Here in the southeast, we should be in pretty good shape for the next week or two, for supply, at the very least, if not longer than that. Just being close to the growing region. Even with the supply being off a little bit this year, we will cut more than 4,000,000 Christmas trees in North Carolina this year.”
Now, I would think based on what we’re hearing through national media, growers didn’t plant a lot of trees in ’08, and ’09, which was the depths of the recession, so I would think that the sizes that would be a little short this year would be the 5-8 foot range?
“If we have shortages, yes, that’s where they’ll be.”
Which, coincidentally are the most popular sizes.
“Yes. We aren’t out yet, in North Carolina. We have Christmas trees in farmers’ markets, in garden centers, retail lots, chain stores, grocery stores, all over the state.”
So, like you mentioned earlier, we’ll have so many trees coming out of the North Carolina mountains, how does that compare to last year?
“It’s kind of hard to judge year by year because USDA no longer reports yearly, but the census of agriculture will pick up on this year’s crop. I suspect we’ll be off a little bit, as much as 10-15%, compared to the last survey which was the Census of Horticultural Specialties in 2014, which is part of the Census of Agriculture.”
What do we need to know that might be special or different this year?
“You might want to shop early for the best selection. Some of our customers always like to put a tree up right before Christmas. And if you’re going to do that you might want to know where that tree comes from, in case we do run into shortages later in December.
What’s special about our trees, they’re all special. Nearly 99% of our product is Frazier Fir, which is the premium Christmas tree in the United States.”
Okay, Bill, what do we need to add?
“Always make a fresh cut on the base of your tree so that it will take up water, keep it in a stand that holds plenty of water, and keep plenty of water in the stand. That’s all you have to do to keep it fresh and fragrant for your family through the Christmas season.”
Marketing Specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture based in Asheville, Bill Glenn.