42 years of Christmas Trees

Thursday, 26 Dec, 2019

For those wondering why their Christmas trees no longer smell as strong as in the past, the answer could be a shift in tree species sold on the Irish market.

Consider that OR and North Carolina are the largest producers of Christmas trees, though Pennsylvania is fourth, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Also, shake as much debris off the tree as possible. This bold claim has a few global challengers.

In the United Kingdom, most local councils will collect Christmas trees as part of their regular rubbish collection. Only four produce more than one million trees, according to the USDA data from 2017.

Christmas tree shortage? Not so fast.

If you have a real Christmas tree this year, there are plenty of good ways to dispose of it.

Interestingly, over in the Shetlands, Christmas trees are incinerated to provide hot water for locals through the coldest part of the year. MI and Pennsylvania each produced over a million trees.

In 2015, Alabama and MS had roughly the same number of farms dedicated to Christmas tree production.

Is it time to give up on real Christmas trees?

Christmas tree farm sales in Quebec in 2018 amounted to just over $60 million, followed by $15 million from Nova Scotia. The cost of a Christmas tree will likely continue to rise in the future.

OR is the top grower in America, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The industry's good year comes alongside an increase in demand: A study by the National Christmas Tree Association found a 20% spike in real Christmas tree purchases during 2018.

Patrick Dupree from Moody's Tree Farm in Vermontville said big-box stores like Lowe's and Home Depot have uprooted the traditional system by buying out entire farms of trees, leaving little for the independent sellers - garden centers, nurseries, nonprofit lots and small businesses - who would buy wholesale from these farms.

He admitted there was a "bit of competition" between Quebec and Nova Scotia.

"It can take between seven and 10 years before an Irish-grown Christmas tree is in peak condition and ready for harvesting", said Christy Kavanagh, chairman of the ICTG.

Climate change will likely exacerbate these factors and could drive up tree prices for years to come. If you're buying a real tree, consider a potted tree that can be replanted, mulching or composting a cut tree, or donating it to groups that use trees for restoration projects. These trees work so well because they look nearly exactly like fresh-cut trees, and don't need to be thrown away after every season. "Unfortunately, you had to have that foresight 10 years ago", he said.

There are Christmas tree farms in all 50 US states. "But now that we're in a position of a tighter supply, prices are up and growers are very, very pleased with the way this year's been working out".