ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - During the 2008 recession, sales of Christmas trees were down so growers planted fewer seedlings.
That decision has come back to bite tree sellers, as that smaller crop of trees is just now maturing to the point they can be sold.
Northern varieties like the Fraser fir, are preferred for Christmas trees because they are more robust, Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest employee Jodi Utsman said.
“They can hold a heavier ornament,” she said.
The Eustis business was expecting a shipment of trees from Michigan, but ended up getting 26 fewer trees than expected.
Utsman’s supplier in North Carolina was also running low on trees.
“He had a waiting list of 200 people that were clamoring for his trees,” she said.
Anthony Razzani, of Razzani’s Christmas Trees in Orlando, said finding a Fraser fir between 6 and 8 feet tall is nearly impossible.
He urged anyone looking for a Christmas tree not to wait to go out and find one.
“Go out early and get them, because the supply is short (and) the prices are high,” Razzani said.
Evergreens native to Florida are abundant but are not as popular as their northern counterparts, Utsman said.
They also mature faster – four years to maturity compared to 10 for northern trees, she said.
Shipping and labor costs have caused Razzani to increase his prices by up to 35 percent.
Utsman has not raised prices this year, but if popular trees remain scarce, next year may be a different story, she said.
Watch below to learn about the history of the Christmas tree:
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