Don't panic, but there's a shorter supply of Christmas trees this holiday season than in recent years.
"Most people [tree growers] that I know are sold out, or close to sold out. Phones are really ringing as people are looking to get Christmas trees," said Mark Arkills, production manager at Holiday Tree Farms in Corvallis, south of Portland, Oregon. Roughly 6,500 acres, Holiday Tree Farms is one of the largest tree farms in the country.
"It's a real tight supply right now," Arkills said.
Turns out Christmas trees — from Douglas firs to Scotch pines — resemble a commodities market. Trees can take roughly seven years to grow from seedlings to adult trees ready for harvest. And it's this yearslong lag time between plantings and harvest that creates a cyclical, fast-famine market for trees. Sure, growers want to manage inventory better. But strategic shifts in plantings take years to influence supplies — not weeks or even months. This is an agricultural product, after all.
"Basically, tree supplies are coming off an oversupply situation that has been unraveling for years," Arkills said.