Growers beholden for somewhat aloft Christmas tree prices though business might see …

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Christmas tree expected will cost a small some-more this year, and growers like John Tillman contend it’s about time.

Six years of decreased direct and low prices put many growers out of business. Those who withstood a downturn are relieved they survived.

“I’m awful unapproachable to still be in a Christmas tree business,” pronounced Tillman, who ships adult to 20,000 trees any tumble from 9 fields south of Olympia, Washington. “We mislaid a lot of farmers who didn’t make it through.”

Prices change according to a accumulation of tree, though growers this year will see about $20 per tree, $2 some-more than a final several years, according to Bryan Ostlund, executive executive of a Salem, Oregon-based Pacific Northwest Tree Association. Prices will expected arise as a holidays nearby and supply decreases.

Consumers looking to rug their home could compensate a small some-more than final year, though costs change widely depending on factors such as transportation, tree-lot let space and big-box retailers’ direct that prices sojourn stable. For example, a 6-foot Douglas fir in Oregon, that grows about one-third of a nation’s Christmas trees, could sell for $25 while a identical tree hauled to Southern California competence go for $80.

Tara Deering-Hansen, a mouthpiece for Midwestern supermarket sequence Hy-Vee, pronounced indiscriminate tree prices have climbed somewhat though prices are set during any store and business competence not see any increase.

Heavy sleet final week slowed a conveyance of trees from Michigan, that ranks third in prolongation and reserve many of a Midwest and tools of a South. In some loading yards, stacks of trees available conveyance were lonesome with adult to 2 feet of snow.

“Getting a sleet off was some-more work than loading a trees,” pronounced Dan Wahmhoff, co-owner of a hothouse in southwestern Michigan. “It was really a plea — breeze and sleet and cold, trucks were removing stranded — though we done it through.”

In a entrance years, growers design a supply of trees to sojourn fast with prices gradually increasing, in partial since it takes 6 to 7 years for a seedling to grow vast adequate to sell.

Even with a increase, many growers are being paid reduction now than in a mid-2000s, when trees from new and stretched farms strike a marketplace as direct fell. And a attention still faces challenges, as foe from synthetic tree manufacturers and other factors have led to a dump in trees harvested, from 20.8 million in 2002 to 17.3 million in 2012, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The National Christmas Tree Association, formed in Missouri, has speedy growers to offer some-more options that accommodate a needs of younger people who live in civic areas and don’t have space for a soaring tree, says executive executive Rick Dungey. More growers are realizing that if they offer opposite looks — such as a tree that could fit on a coffee list or one skinny adequate to fist into a slight room — people will buy them, Dungey said.

“There are some-more options and choices out there,” he said.

Small tree-farm owners who sell true to business aren’t as influenced by a factors augmenting prices to consumers nationally.

Jenny Howell, whose family runs Howell Tree Farm southwest of Des Moines, pronounced they’ll lift prices a bit since of high fuel prices for mowers and other apparatus over a summer and drought that caused some seedlings to die. But their business typically lapse any winter and don’t spend time comparing her farm’s prices to those in city lots.

It can be cold, tough work traipsing by a snowy tree plantation in December, though Howell pronounced her family still enjoys it.

“It’s a happy business,” she said.


Associated Press author John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich., contributed to this story.


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