‘A supply shortage there’: Demand for Christmas tree high during second year of COVID-19 pandemic

Christmas tree farms in BC are facing a double whammy from global supply chain problems and climate crisis-induced natural disasters, and it means traditional Christmas decorations may be harder to come by this year.

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The Oh Christmas Tree Farm opened in Langley on Saturday and there was no shortage of customers willing to buy the premium spruce.


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“It takes 10 years to grow a good Christmas tree,” says farm owner Richard Davies.

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“We’re getting a combination of supply chain issues and more people and fewer nurseries, so there’s a supply shortage.”

Christmas tree sales boomed last season as Canadians tried to lift the holiday mood amid the pandemic.

Due to incredible demand, Oh Christmas Tree Farm sold out at the end of November 2020 – when Davies normally sells until mid-December.

This year, he also expects to clear out his inventory before the end of the month.


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“We’re opening early, you know, for demand and we’re closing early,” Davies told Global News.

Even IKEA won’t be selling real trees in its Canadian stores this holiday season.

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SFU Beedie School of Business Assistant Professor Feyza Sahinyazan believes some trees were harvested prematurely and sold in 2020 to meet demand during the first year of COVID-19, which could contribute to this year’s shortage.

But like almost any global commodity, Sahinyazan said pandemic-related supply chain disruptions, including blocked ports, container and labor shortages — coupled with extreme weather conditions — are fueling the scarcity of Christmas trees.

“Whatever happens in the last 10 years has a cumulative effect on the supply of Christmas trees,” Sahinyazan told Global News.

“So if there was a heat wave in 2015, it will still affect the current supply.”

Retail strategist David Ian Gray said last summer’s heat dome and wildfires affected the growing season in the Pacific Northwest.


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Artificial trees may be an alternative option, but Gray hears that some orders are being canceled due to the product’s limited shelf life.

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“Retailers are worried they’ll get a late shipment and be stuck on the trees for a year,” Gray says.

Supply problems, he said, as both fake and live trees were also exacerbated by recent flooding and landslides that damaged major transportation networks across BC

“They are being repaired, but just like a car accident on Highway 1, you clean up the cars, but it takes a long time for traffic to get back to normal,” Gray told Global News.

Local growers recommend buying a freshly felled tree early and caring for it at home.

“If you put it in the water, it should last until probably New Years,” Davies said.


© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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