Nationwide Christmas Tree Shortage Threatens Holiday Cheer

Christmas tree experts said supply will be an issue this season, and the advice is to get your tree early.

A Christmas tree shortage could put a damper on the holiday season.

At Stonehedge Landscaping and Garden Center in Newington, they had to get their trees from a new supplier in Vermont because the local grower in Connecticut couldn’t meet the demand.

Christmas tree experts said supply will be an issue this season, and the advice is to get your tree early.

“It’s tradition. We’ve always had one…plus the smell. I like the smell,” said Marilyn Slater of New Britain.

For mother and son Marilyn and Gregory Slater, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a live tree at home.

“It just adds something special to the time of the season. It’s very nice,” Gregory said.

This holiday season finding the tree the Slaters or millions of others are seeking may be a bit harder, and it could cost more.

“It’s kind of gotten everybody nervous. So everybody is calling and wanting to get their trees early because they want to be able to get the size and the kind they desire,” said Kathy Kogut, executive director of the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Kogut is also a grower herself, running her family’s tree business in Meriden. She said bad weather in Canada and North Carolina and Oregon combined with increased freight costs means fewer trees nationwide this Christmas.

“Christmas trees are a cyclical thing where they have to plant every single year. So if you plant 1,000 then 10 years later 1,000 will be ready. But if you lose some, then you’re not going to have those ready 10 years later,” Kogut said.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is almost a week shorter than usual this year, making the demand for trees much more concentrated than usual.

Kogurt says in order to make sure your family is able to gather round a tree you actually want this Dec. 25, the time to find the perfect tree is now.

“If your heart is set on a certain tree then go get it early. Keep it in water and it’ll be fine,” Kogut said.

Kogut says in addition to her family’s business selling Christmas trees directly to customers, they also have a wholesaling business where they sell trees to other retailers. Because of the shortage, they’re dropping that part of the business altogether for the season.

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