Friday, March 31, 2023
Home Covid-19 London, Ont. farms report Christmas tree shortage

London, Ont. farms report Christmas tree shortage

With Christmas less than a month away, Londoners may be in the market for a real Christmas tree, however, some local tree farms are reporting a shortage.

Christin Ebert, the co-owner of the Little Creek Tree Farm in Thorndale, says they requested between 350 to 375 Fraser firs from suppliers this year, but only received 165.

“We had requested about double the amount we received,” she said. “We were not able to get near the numbers we were hoping for.”

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The co-owner says she spoke with a supplier who claimed they haven’t taken in new clients for the past five years due to the lack of supply.

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Areas outside the London region are also experiencing Christmas tree shortages.

Nikki van Duyvendyk of Dutch Growers Garden Centre in Saskatoon says since the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand to own a real tree has grown.

She was hoping to buy more than her usual amount this year, but her plans were chopped.

“We’re absolutely in the same position as we were last year,” she told Global News. “And obviously, trees take a long time to get to this level to be able to sell on this. So … we’re still in the same boat as last year.”

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Ebert says the shortage is partially due to the time it takes for trees to grow. It usually takes eight to 10 years for a tree to reach the desired height for Christmas tree status.

“Back in 2008 to 2010, when we had that recession, there was a lack of trees being planted, so now we’re on the short end,” she said.

“(And) we’ve seen an increase in cost on everything, (like) fertilizer, fuel, the cost of equipment, the lack of equipment,” she continued. “It’s not as easy as it used to be.”

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But not every local Christmas tree farm is experiencing shortages.

Noelle Bachner, the co-owner of the Bachner Family Christmas Tree Farm in St. Thomas, opened for their first season on Friday.

Bachner tells 980 CFPL it started with her father-in-law growing trees 35 years ago. When he retired, her husband took over, planted seeds from the original trees and grew new trees.

“Now, we have a nice-sized little lot here and we’ve just started selling them,” she said.

The Bachner family

The Bachner family.


Bachner says while the farm isn’t experiencing any shortages at the time, they’re taking preventative measures to ensure shortages don’t happen.

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“We are limiting sales. We’re only open (last) weekend and next weekend and that’s how we’re trying to make sure we do have trees next year to sell that will be of a nice size,” she explained. “We want to have trees for the next five, six years.”

Bachner says supply is limited as far as the height and size of the trees, but they’re confident they’re not going to run out.

“That’s the wonderful thing, since it’s our first season.”

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Tips on what Christmas tree to buy and how to care for it

As for taking care of your Christmas tree, Ebert says it’s important to not let it dry out.

“If you’re not ready to decorate your tree yet, keep it outside, where it’s cooler. Once you bring it in, get it into water (and) away from a heat source so it doesn’t dry out.”

Shirley Brennan, the executive director of the Canadian Christmas Trees Association, says Christmas tree farms currently take up about 50,000 acres across Canada.

This is a decrease from 70,000 acres, which she said is a loss of about 30,000 trees.

— With files from Global News’ Kabi Moulitharan

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