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Business & Economy

Increased Demand Creates 'Perfect Storm' For Christmas Tree Shortage

The head of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association says sales numbers were up for the first post-Thanksgiving weekend, and he may run out of supplies himself a week earlier than expected.
Kabir Bhatia
/
WKSU
The head of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association says sales numbers were up for the first post-Thanksgiving weekend, and he may run out of supplies himself a week earlier than expected.

Christmas trees are selling out fast this year, as growers across the state are experiencing more demand than ever. This issue of supply outstripping demand has been a long time in the making.

Jeff Greig is the vice president of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association and owner of Greig Christmas Tree Farm in Willoughby Hills. He sold out of trees just five days after opening for the season.

“Eight years ago there was no way to predict that we would have this kind of demand for trees,” he said.

Christmas trees take seven to 10 years to grow, making it difficult for growers to pivot quickly to serve higher rates of demand. Although people may be wondering whether to blame supply chain issues, Robert Stehli, owner of Wintergreen Tree Farm in Mantua, thinks the main issue is the growing demand for live Christmas trees.

“I think it is growing, and unfortunately that hit just as the same time that the supply was kind of on a low ebb,” he said.

Stehli said the growth in demand began last year when more people wanted to get out of the house during the pandemic to cut down their own tree.

“I think it’s almost like the perfect storm for right now because there is an increase in demand," said Stehli. "I think a lot of younger people at least want to try this out, and I think there’s so few opportunities today for people to get out with their family and do something outdoors that this is really a great thing. And they love doing it.”

Both Greig and Stehli worry about what this season means for the future of Christmas tree farms, as growers’ dwindling supply could impact years to come.

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Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.