Local farmer advises getting trees early amid Christmas tree shortage

Christmas Tree Shortage at Bare Creek Tree Farm
Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 6:57 PM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - While it may be easier to blame the Grinch on this year’s dwindling tree numbers, it looks like some more serious factors could be at play.

Weston Vernon, the owner of the Bare Creek Tree Farm, has been running the farm for several years with his family. He said this year, in particular, has been a rough one.

“Usually, we put our order in for our trees around July or August. This year, it was January, February, right after Christmas,” Vernon said.

Why the sudden difficulty? Vernon says a high demand for trees, plus drought across the country, has made growing trees especially challenging.

“It is just hard to reproduce a tree quickly, it takes normally anywhere from six to 12 years just to grow a tree,” Vernon said. “Every year, Christmas tree farmers lose trees to drought and to disease, so those are a couple of big things that you see.”

Though Vernon also attributes it to a lack of interest in tree farming.

“There is not a lot of people getting into this business, and there is more getting out,” Vernon said. “A lot of tree growers are older farmers, and they are retiring. You are seeing a shortage in this industry, as far as growers go.

With supply down and demand up, there is no surprise that the Real Christmas Tree Board is expecting growers to raise their wholesale prices as much as 15% this season. This is something Vernon has worked to avoid.

“People want to come and buy Christmas trees, but they do not want to overpay and I understand that,” Vernon said. “We absorbed some of that at the farm as far as the shipping and getting them here, but we are going to keep our prices the same.

Despite everything, Vernon still recommends getting a real tree over an artificial one, but says to act fast.

“Taking that tree home and the smell of a tree you cannot be the smell of a Fraser fir in your house. There’s nothing like it,” Vernon said. “I would say the earlier the better as far as getting your tree, because the supply is low. So you need to get it as quickly as possible.”

The Bare Creek Tree Farm will be opening Nov. 25, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the farm’s website.