Nova Scotia

Looking for a tiny tree this Christmas? You're not alone

As more people downsize and are calling apartments and condos home, there's been a surge in demand for a real tree at a smaller size. And this is good news for farmers.

Nova Scotia tree farm sending twice as many tabletop trees to the U.S. this year

John Reeves, the owner of Reeves Christmas Greens in Barss Corner, N.S., said his farm will send twice as many tabletop trees to New Jersey this year. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

If you're noticing more tiny trees at your local Christmas tree lot this year, it's not your imagination — it's a growing trend.

As more people downsize and are calling apartments and condos home, there's been a surge in demand for a real tree at a smaller size. And this is good news for farmers.

"A smaller tree takes less time to grow, it's easier to harvest and produce, they're lighter to carry and more of the smaller trees will fit on a load destined to market," said Angus Bonnyman, executive director of the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia.

"I've heard of one grower that produced all of the small trees he thought he could, and the buyer from the United States came back with the comment that he'd want to double his order next year. So it's definitely an opportunity for growers to increase sales."

People downsizing their homes is part of the reason there's more demand for smaller trees. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

In Barss Corner, N.S., Reeves Christmas Greens tree farm is preparing a shipment for New Jersey this week, and it's wrapping up more tabletop trees than ever — double what it sent last year.

"The little apartments, the seniors, this is very popular for seniors because they can handle it. They can put it under their arm and take it in their elevator," said owner John Reeves.

"Young people just starting out with not as much money. And it's good for us as a promotion for our real trees."

Thinning out tree lots

Reeves started selling trees when he was five years old. He said the little trees aren't anything new: his father started shipping trees to Boston in the late 1960s and even then they sent tabletop trees.

Growers have also been thinning smaller trees out their lots for years in order to let the thriving trees grow larger.

"Instead of cutting them down and just destroying them, we cut them down and sell them," Reeves said.

Both Reeves and Bonnyman said the Christmas tree market in Nova Scotia has been solid the last few years. Reeves and his sons will send 25,000 trees to the U.S. this year.

More and more people are looking to get smaller Christmas trees, which is good news for tree farmers. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

Reeves said he believes people are realizing the environmental benefits of having a real tree.

"This will biodegrade, you can grind that up and make chips for mulch or burn it for fuel," he said, holding up a tiny tree. "Some [people] now feed them to goats and sheep. They'll chew them right up to nothing but the stand."

But while small trees are taking root, there's still pride and demand for the bigger, more majestic trees.

"I think in a lot of cases our growers are proud to be able to produce a taller tree and nurture it for a longer period of time," Bonnyman said.

"But there are other growers that are understanding there are business benefits to being able to produce some smaller trees."

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With files from Colleen Jones

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