In the past 10 year,the average price of a Christmas tree “more than doubled from $36.50 in 2008 to $78 in 2018,” according to an article from OregonLive. Chal Lundgren, a Christmas tree specialist at Oregon State University predicts that due to a supply shortage in 2019, we will see another increase in price this year.
There are nearly 300, 000 acres of land used for Christmas tree farms in the United States. Oregon has 79 tree farms, with some of the most productive growers in Clackamas and Marion counties. Benton County has one tree grower – Sunrise Tree Farm, off Kings Valley Hwy.
Tom Norby, president of the Oregon Christmas Tree Growers Association and owner of the Trout Creek Tree Farm in Corbett, told OregonLive that he expects the tree inventory to be slightly below the demand for 2020, especially regarding 7+ foot tall trees; however, he doesn’t expect a serious shortage.
McKenzie Cook of McKenzie Farms, which specializes in shipping large trees to stores, expects that the cost of labor and shipping which is greater this year due to COVID 19 safety practices.
Additionally, some farms have opted out of the “U-cut” option as social distancing may be problematic, others delineated paths for the public to minimize a possible viral exposure.
Another worry for farmers is replanting. Due to extensive wildfires, there is more demand for seedlings and global warming hampers survival chances of very young seedlings on non-irrigated land.
It is expected – and hoped – that with the pandemic the usual travelers during this time will set up their own tree to celebrate at home.