Supply chain issues, shortage of truck drivers and increased wait times for shipped items are not only threatening gift giving this holiday season, but may hamper the ability to get a tree to place said gifts under as well.
According to the Associated Press, “Experts said tree buyers should expect to pay more for both live trees and artificial trees this year and also have a smaller selection to choose from.”
Kerry Fetter, owner of one of the few Christmas tree farms serving the local area, Fetter’s Tree Farm on East Main Street in Smethport, echoed the sentiments stated in the Associated Press.
The Fetters have personally seen such an uptick in business over the past four or five years, according to Fetter, that it has vastly depleted their inventory — making it scarce to find a tree above 7 feet in the fields of his farm.
“We officially open this Friday, after Thanksgiving, and are expecting to be very busy over the weekend. Because of all the shortages being a common news item, I expect an early rush of individuals wishing to get a tree before they possibly sell out.
“Frankly, it is a real possibility — it happened last year, not on our farm but some other Pennsylvania tree farms from down state,” stated Fetter.
Several factors concerning this trend are at work. Farmers struggling after the economic recession in 2009 planted fewer trees for several years, and demand has been rising in the last several years, according to the Associated Press.
“Our most popular tree is the Douglas Fir, followed by just about any other fir tree, and they typically take between 8 to 10 years to mature and reach 6 to 8 feet in height. So because not as many trees were planted years ago, the supply just isn’t meeting the demand,” said Fetter.
Graham’s Greenhouse General Manager Michelle Hayden explained that due to high demand and shortage of artificial trees this year, they have decided to offer real Christmas trees at the greenhouse.
“We had wreaths last year for the holidays and received a lot of inquiries into the potential sale of Christmas trees. So with this year’s predicted shortages for the fake trees it was decided that it would be an awesome opportunity if we could offer residents a more authentic option for their Christmas this year,” said Hayden.
Shipments of artificial trees have been delayed this year due to supply chain issues including a shortage of truck drivers to make deliveries, stated the Associated Press.