Finding the perfect Christmas tree for the top with flashing lights and festive ornaments will probably be harder this holiday season.
“There will be an incredible shortage,” said Justin Noonan, owner of Trees On A Truck Inc., a GTA-based Christmas tree delivery service.
Noonan said his company started getting reservations as early as August and expects trees to be sold out everywhere by the middle of next month. “I do not know how long we will have trees.”
According to industry sources, this year’s shortfall can be blamed on a number of things: climate change, the pandemic – even the long-term effects of the economic meltdown more than ten years ago.
“It takes about 13 years to grow a tree from seed, and it takes us back to the recession of 2008,” said Fred Somerville, president of the Canadian Christmas Trees Association and Somerville Nurseries Inc., which wholesales about 140,000 trees to primarily Ontario and Quebec. annual.
“Now you’re fast forward to 2021, and there are just not that many trees around.”
To make matters worse, the most coveted tree species on the market, the Frasergranen – loved for its moisture-retaining, thick, waxy needles – will probably be the hardest to find.
Albion Orchards, less than an hour from Toronto, stopped trying to grow the Fraser spruce, which usually thrives in cooler weather with lots of rain and snowmelt, due to climate change, according to Scott Lunau, a farmer on the orchard.
“Global warming is a real problem,” Lunau said. “I’ve been farming here for 26 years, and it’s real, and it’s serious.”
Like last year, the current shortage of Christmas trees is also partly to blame for supply chain problems caused by COVID-19. Even Ikea, a place where customers could find an affordable Christmas tree during the holiday season, will not have any live deals this year due to the pandemic causing chaos on its supply.
“With labor shortages and fewer trucks on the roads, things are getting more complicated,” said Angus Bonnyman, executive director of the Christmas Trees Council in Nova Scotia. Bonnyman’s province exports about 400,000 trees to the rest of Canada, and it is also facing shortages
With an increase in demand and a decrease in supply, lumber merchants can also expect to pay more for smaller lumber.
“It could be a smaller size, it could be a different species,” said Shirley Brennan, executive director of the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario and the Canadian Christmas Trees Association.
Brennan noted that wood merchants in some regions could pay up to 20 percent more than last year.
And if you’re looking for a fake tree, both Brennan and Somerville warned that there are also supply chain issues for the artificial alternative this season.
“Please – our farmers are doing everything they can to make sure everyone has a tree,” Brennan said.