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Christmas tree supply issues result in higher prices

Christmas trees.JPG
Posted at 6:29 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 22:41:11-05

There's been no shortage of shortages over the past year, and just in time for the holiday season, you can add Christmas trees to that list.

But at Holloway's Christmas Tree Farm, they have plenty of wreaths and thousands of trees ready to be cut or already cut and ready to go.

The Nipomo farm is a family tradition for many on the Central Coast.

"It was when I was younger and my girls, we did it for a few years and I just wanted to bring my grandsons out today to kind of reestablish that memory," said Sandra Parent of Lompoc.

This year, you'll find locally grown Monterey Pines plus Noble, Nordmann, and Douglas Firs from Washington and Oregon.

But finding a tree could be more difficult in some areas due to the nationwide shortage of trees.

Owner Carl Holloway says it's due in part to last year's high demand.

"Ninety percent of the farms sold out," Holloway said. "Big wholesale farms that ship to growers and to department stores and stuff overcut all of their fields which exacerbates the problem this year."

He says a heatwave that hit Oregon and Washington in June took out another 1.5 million trees from the market, turning those trees red.

The dwindling supply means you can expect to pay a little more this year.

"We tried to keep it in check a little bit," Holloway said. "The tree prices went up 5 to 10 dollars. Some of the larger sizes went up 20 to 30 dollars but that's only the tip of the iceberg because trucking doubled."

At Holloway's, prices range from $59 to upwards of $200 depending on the type and size.

Last year, they sold a record number of trees topping out at more than 4,000 trees, even overcutting their farm by 500 trees just to try to meet demand.

With a little more than a month until Christmas, they purchased more supply this year.

"But it's a gamble," Holloway said. "Coming off that pandemic year when everybody had a tree and we sold out in 15 days. Is it going to be the same?"

Holloway says the goal is to still have trees by the 20th of December.

They also have at least 15 more staff than last year, bringing the total number of employees up to 70.

The farm adds that this year they lost their inventory of Fraser Fir that came from Wisconsin. The owner says the company that sold them oversold last year by 40,000 trees.

Holloway says they expect Grand Firs in a couple of weeks.

The farm is open 7 days a week.