HUNTINGTON (N.Y.) -- Christmas trees are now on the shortlist of items that will be in shortage and at higher prices this year.
Newsday reported that there are many factors driving this trend. These include sales over-the-top during Christmas last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and supply chain problems this year.
Experts say tree buyers can expect to pay 10% to 30% more for artificial and live trees this year, and have a smaller selection.
John Mohlenhoff (secretary of the Huntington fire department's hook and ladder company), stated that prices have risen significantly. "We have had to make compromises on the types and sizes of trees that we get, as well as other aspects.
Mohlenhoff stated that the Huntington fire department sold its trees last year in less than 48 hours. This is in contrast to a typical week-long fundraising event. Prices were raised this year by $5, which is the first time it's happened in a decade. The Pennsylvania farm that supplies the trees has been forced to raise prices for the department.
Darts Christmas Tree Farm, Southold, sold out of mature trees last season for the first time since 1950. They also sold many trees that were not yet mature, which left the farm with fewer large trees, Ed Dart, the owner.
There are many factors at play. Experts told Newsday that farmers who were struggling to find trees after 2009's economic recession planted fewer trees over the years. However, demand for trees has increased in recent years. A tree can mature in eight to ten years.
This year, artificial tree deliveries were delayed due to supply chain problems and a shortage in truck drivers.
Jami Warner, executive Director of the American Christmas Tree Association (representing Christmas tree retailers), stated that some major retailers claim they have only 43 percent of their inventory.
Andy Pergament, category manager at Costello's Ace Hardware on Long Island, said artificial tree retailer Costello's Ace Hardware has increased prices by as much as 25%. He said that although Christmas merchandise is usually available in stores by October, the chain is still waiting to receive artificial trees from China. They are expected to arrive next week.