Shortage of Christmas trees nationwide: Local farmers say buy now


Industry experts say there’s a shortage of Christmas trees across the country.

Mark Schmidlin, the owner of Schmidlin Farms in Banks, said he has had to turn down 50 wholesale customers around the country already.

He said customers in places like Southern California or Texas that don’t have U-Cut Christmas tree farms might be out of luck if they don't buy early. Schmidlin also said there might not be as many neighborhood tree lots this year.

Even with the rain on Sunday, Schmidlin Farms had customers crawling all over in search of the best Christmas tree.

“We like being able to get our own tree and cut our own, so … And we like the real live trees, don’t we?” said Whitney Berger to her daughter. Their family was cutting down two trees on Sunday.

“Pick out the most beautiful, the best tree on the entire lot. That means we’re not picking out the first tree, but I make us go shopping and we pick out the best tree,” said members of the McKey family.

If a person tends to live by the “best tree” mentality, owner Schmidlin's advice is to find a Christmas tree soon.

Schmidlin is also the secretary-treasurer for the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association.

He said before the recession hit, there was an oversupply of trees. But then, prices plummeted and it forced some tree growers out of the industry.

“To stay in business, we’ve got to make some money, because this is a cold and wet and miserable harvest when you’re doing it for free,” said Schmidlin.

He said his prices are up about 10 percent from last year – it’s mostly affecting wholesale.

“We had no idea, but we live in Oregon and we’re two miles away from this tree farm, and it’s always here for us,” said one of the McKeys.

The deficit isn’t as bad in Oregon or Washington as in other states, and Schmidlin said it affects neighborhood lots more than it does U-Cut farms.

“Our trees will not run out this year for Christmas trees, no,” he said.

Schmidlin’s trees start at $30 this year.

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