Low supply of Christmas trees means vendors need to secure trees early
'We had to fight tooth and nail to get what we wanted,' said owner of Grobe Nursery
Perry Grobe had to "fight tooth and nail" this year to get the number or Christmas trees he usually gets for his nursery in Breslau, Ont.
Grobe Nursery normally orders Christmas trees in the thousands from growers in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.
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But a low supply of trees to meet the high demand meant his nursery had to order Christmas trees earlier in the season to make sure they secured the number of trees they needed.
"As the years go on and supply gets tighter, it will be more and more challenging to get the trees that we want."
I think they haven't increased their prices steadily enough over the years. So, they're catching up at once.- Gerard Demaiter, Benjamin Tree Farm in Waterloo, Ont.
Grobe said the low supply of trees can be attributed to the number of years it takes for Christmas trees to be harvested and to years ago in 2008, when tree suppliers cut back on production during the recession.
"Those trees are not there to harvest now that the demand is up," he said. "Fewer trees means there's more expense to purchase the tree and some of the smaller retailers ... did not get what they were hoping for because [growers] sold the trees elsewhere."
Price hike of 15 per cent
But not all tree retailers are feeling the pinch. Gerard Demaiter of Benjamin Tree Farm in Waterloo, Ont., told CBC News the trick is to get your orders in early.
"In January, we'll look at our sales. We analyze what we sold, what we need, maybe if we want to get a few more smaller ones or a few more bigger ones," he said. "Then we put the orders in in January for the following [December]."
Demaiter said they've never been turned away from a grower and they've always been able to get the trees they need.
But he admitted that this year the trees coming from Nova Scotia were 15 per cent more expensive than last year.
"It's a big increase in one year, but I think they haven't increased their prices steadily enough over the years. So, they're catching up at once," he said.
Demaiter said the farm will, for the most part, be absorbing that increase and not be passing it on to their customers.