Some Upstate farmers see a shortage of Christmas Trees this year

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PICKENS COUNTY, SC (WSPA)–If you haven’t purchased your Christmas tree this year, you might want to do it now. Some Upstate farmers said they’re in high demand, and in some cases, they are seeing a shortage of certain trees.

“We never had a shortage in my lifetime. I’ve always been able to get as many trees as I want, but not this year,” said James Freeman, Owner of Elves Christmas Tree Farm. “We have some shortage of the trees that come out of the mountains, the Fraser Firs,” he said.

Freeman has owned the farm in Easley since 2016. He grows several different types of trees, but not Fraser Fir. Those can only grow in the western part of North Carolina, due to elevation, and now it’s impacting farmers here.

“I’m not able to buy anymore. All the wholesale people sold out,” Freeman said.

The Merry Christmas Tree Farm in Central, is also seeing the same thing.

“I’m seeing the same demand I’ve been seeing the last three years. A high demand of all sizes of Fraser firs, but this year it seems like more people want nine- and ten-foot Frasers,” said Stephen Steed, Owner, of the Merry Christmas Tree Farm.

Steed said all of their homegrown trees have been sold, and with barely any left, he’s closing up shop a little earlier this year.

“That’s all I sale is Fraser Fir and then my Choose and Cut,” Steed said. “I’m shut down. I got six Frasers to sell which are about five feet and then I’m going to be shut down.”
He opened a week earlier this year, instead of Thanksgiving Day.

Freeman is a part of the South Carolina Christmas Tree Association. The farmer said over this summer, he was told there would be a shortage.

“We got more people wanting trees. So the supply and demand is changed. The demand is higher than the supply,” Freeman said. “I think it started back in 2008 and 10, when the economy was so low that the people didn’t plant as many trees those years. And then also there’s some big farmers that have gone out of the Christmas tree business,” Freeman explained.

While he has other trees he can sale, he hopes the popular Fraser Fir trees will be back next year.

“Well we hope that things will be better where we can buy the trees in Western, North Carolina that we need for our customers,” Freeman added.

Freeman said he plans to keep his farm open until Christmas eve, to sell some of his other trees.

Steed said because there aren’t enough Fraser Fir Trees to meet the demand, prices have started to increase in North Carolina.

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