Christmas Tree Sellers Suffer From Nationwide Tree Shortage

Local Christmas tree sellers say there is a nationwide tree shortage. The problem stems from wildfires burning trees in the west and growers in the east stopping their production roughly eight years ago. Owasso Christmas Tree and Berry Farm Owner Bill Jacobs said he has been in the Christmas tree business for almost 40 years and it is still hard to know what to prepare for each year. While Jacobs does grow and sell his own trees, he also brings in trees from other states for extra color and heig

Friday, November 20th 2020, 6:14 am



Local Christmas tree sellers say there is a nationwide tree shortage. The problem stems from wildfires burning trees in the west and growers in the east stopping their production roughly eight years ago.

Owasso Christmas Tree and Berry Farm Owner Bill Jacobs said he has been in the Christmas tree business for almost 40 years and it is still hard to know what to prepare for each year. While Jacobs does grow and sell his own trees, he also brings in trees from other states for extra color and height variety. This year, he said he will not have as many options.

“The trees are short in supply in general and big trees are really hard to come by,” Jacobs said. “We grow Virginia Pine Cyprus and Sapphire, and we bring some in from North Carolina, and five varieties of firs from Oregon.”

He said trees grow in cycles of about 8-10 years, but this year happens to be an off-year, meaning the trees available are not big enough yet to be sold. Typically, growers leave a few hundred trees in the ground each year to grow much taller for the next year, instead of cutting them all at the same height at the same time, but that has not been happening in the past two years due to the high demand for trees.

The Owasso farmer said about 10 years ago, many people left the Christmas tree business to grow grapes, hops, and hazelnuts instead, since those crops grow much quicker than trees, meaning they get a more frequent payout.

Jacobs said his most requested tree height is about 12 feet, but he only got in a few at that height this year. Altogether he said he will likely sell about 5,000 trees. He said that is a lot, but it is not as high of a variety as usual.

“Both east and west are low, in the firs we normally get two semi loads, this year we only got one, and about 1000 from the west coast but this year we only got 750,” Jacobs said.

West Coast wildfires are also to blame for the lack of trees available in the U.S. First-time sellers like Brie Caywood said she had no idea how hard getting trees for her Broken Arrow store would be.

“How do I get them if nobody is selling them, I couldn't order them from the west coast because they didn't have any to sell, thousands of acres of trees were burned they are just gone,” Caywood said.

Caywood said she was able to get 200 trees for her store called “1907," but she is afraid they will not be able to keep up with the demand.

“I never thought something so far away would affect us, it’s like the butterfly flapping its wings and we couldn't get Christmas trees in Oklahoma who knew,” Caywood said.

With the growth gap and west coast wildfires, Christmas trees are becoming more difficult to come by, these sellers encourage people to come get trees now before it is too late.

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