Anyone planning to purchase a Christmas tree this holiday season is encouraged to do so soon.
Due to a decrease in growers and a steady demand from the public, the supply of Christmas trees in West Central Illinois is far lower than previous years.
Duane Friend, from the University of Illinois Extension office, says the shortage is being seen throughout a large part of the nation. Friend says the problem started about twelve years ago.
“There was a glut in the Christmas tree farms and trees available. Because of that, there were a lot of people that went out of business. We have seen a pretty significant decrease in the operations that produce trees and the overall number of acreage. There has been a 31 percent decrease in Christmas tree acreage in the United States.”
Friend believes the only Christmas tree growing operations in West Central Illinois can be found in Cass County, but even those numbers have dropped rapidly over the past decade.
Due to an already limited supply, Friend says local growers have had to turn down counties around the state in need of trees.
Friend says there is a chance this could be a problem over the next several years.
“It takes several years for trees to get to the height people want. Even if people increase the acreage used next year, it will still take several years for those trees to get to marketable size. I would suggest people get their trees fairly quickly so you can get the type and size you want.”
With an increased demand and shortage of supply, Friend says Christmas tree shoppers could see a rise in prices. The largest Christmas tree producers in the Midwest come from Wisconsin and Minnesota.