KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Do you have your Christmas tree already? If you’re looking for a real tree this year, it may be harder to find.
Several East Tennessee farmers say this year wasn’t the best for harvesting Christmas tree crops. Christmas tree farmers have to prepare years in advance when planting their trees.
“We probably didn’t fully understand what we were getting into in 2019,” said Brian Wood, the owner of Lucky Dog Christmas Tree Farm in Powell. “When we started planting those seedlings we probably lost 25% of those the first year. So that was a little bit shocking.”
This is the first year that Lucky Dog Christmas Tree Farm has been able to sell some of its trees, but they still had to buy several from a grower in North Carolina.
“There’s been a bit of a shortage of trees over the past few years. That is slowly recovering, but those Fraser firs to get to market it takes roughly 10 years. So, it takes a while to recover and so that’s why they’re very expensive at this point even for the wholesalers. So, us to purchase them from growers in North Carolina was still quite expensive. So, the customers have seen much of that pass along,” said Wood.
Trees at Lucky Dog range from $75 to $85 dollars.
Over at Arwood Christmas Tree Farm in Roane County, they sell their trees for about $10 a foot. Owner, Sharon Arwood said they too needed some extra help.
“This season we did bring in some pre-cut from White Pine Acres. Her family was getting out of the business and she had a great variety of sizes that we were not able to offer this year because we had not been growing as long as they had,” said Arwood.
Both farmers say drought-like conditions have affected the number of trees they were able to grow and sell this year. Arwood said, “We have about 75 trees left out of 250 that were for sale this season.”
She said it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it every year.
“We wanted to bring those good memories to other families as well, so yes, we have trees, but it’s not about the trees. It’s about the family and about the memories.”
Both farmers said they put in the hard work to make family Christmas dreams come true. Both Christmas tree farms are open on the weekends and they say they’ll be open until they sell their last tree, but that could be sooner rather than later.
We have a full list of places where you can get your tree from a local farmer here. Before visiting any farm, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture suggests contacting them for tree availability and hours of operation.