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Live Christmas Trees Might Be Scarce in the Coming Years Due to Wildfires

It takes six to ten years to grow a tree at a Christmas tree farm. Most of the trees sold at stores and yards on the West Coast come from Oregon which has seen erratic weather over the last few years from raging wildfires to drought to flooding. All of this extreme weather affects tree growth. 

According to the America Christmas Tree Association, Christmas trees will be more expensive and harder to come by in the coming years. Thanks to supply chain issues and climate change, consumers can expect to pay more than usual. 

“Now that supply is short, demand is high…the price goes through the roof,” Rick Grimshaw, partner of produce market Davis Ranch in Sloughhouse, told the Press Democrat. “Every year it creeps up, it usually creeps up a few dollars, this year it crept up $5 — that’s quite a bit over the other years.”

Davis Ranch gets its Christmas trees from a farm in Oregon and this year they got significantly less trees, 200, and they cost much more. But that seems to be the trend across the West. A USDA report compared tree sales between 2015 and 2020 and found that the acreage used to grow trees dropped 24%, the total number of trees sold fell 24%, and the average cost of Oregon trees rose from an average of $18 to $31. 

Since live trees have seen such a price increase, more and more people are gravitating toward artificial trees.

“I’ve been hearing about the prices from people,” Ron Macedo of Turlock’s RAM Farms told the Turlock Journal. “There’s always going to be a market for people that want a real Christmas tree, but artificial trees are becoming more popular.”

West Coast Fires

2021 saw the highest number of wildfires with the most acres burned. The worst-hit state was California followed by Montana, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington. Not only did the fires burn vital tree-growing acreage but forests that are open to tree-cutting your own tree are still closed off. 

According to Cal Fire, California saw 2,569,009 acres burned, 8,619 incidents, three fatalities, and 3,629 structures damaged or destroyed. The Dixie Fire, Monument Fire, and Caldor Fire burned the most acreage and made the most headlines. 

In Oregon, more than million acres were burned over the 2021 fire season. There were nine fatalities and over 4,000 homes destroyed. The Bootleg Fire burned an incredible 413,717 acres and was the largest fire the country had ever seen until the Dixie Fire. 

While there will always be Christmas trees available, you might be noticing that you paid more for one this year. Expect prices to rise over the next few holidays, especially as fire seasons get longer and more destructive each year. Maybe it’s time to invest in an artificial tree!

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