Christmas tree shortage could mean Austin tree lots sell out fast

Christmas tree lot owners warn they could run out of trees early this year. (KXAN photo/Jacqulyn Powell)
Christmas tree lot owners warn they could run out of trees early this year. (KXAN photo/Jacqulyn Powell)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This holiday season, a nationwide Christmas tree shortage could mean you won’t get a tree if you don’t get out and buy one ahead of the crowd. Tree farmers and those who own tree lots are warning that they’re facing severe shortages.

“There’s just not enough Christmas trees to go around,” says Jimmy Coan, who owns Papa Noel Christmas Trees.

The company runs six lots in the Austin area and a tree farm in North Carolina.

Coan explains this year’s shortages can be traced back to the recession a decade ago. Many tree farmers went out of business, meaning less trees were planted.

Christmas tree lot owners warn they could run out of trees early this year. (KXAN photo/Jacqulyn Powell)
Christmas tree lot owners warn they could run out of trees early this year. (KXAN photo/Jacqulyn Powell)

“They couldn’t borrow the money they needed to continue to plant,” he said. “It takes 10 years for a crop to reach fruition, so now we’re seeing the repercussions.”

Coan says he usually ships in a few thousand Noble Fir trees from Oregon and Washington, but with supplies cut this year, he was only able to get about 500.

Luckily, Papa Noel’s lots are also supplied by Coan’s own Fraser Fir farm in North Carolina. Coan is importing as many of those as he can, but he says his lots, along with others, will likely still not have enough to make it through the entire season.

“Regardless of whether it’s a small, independent guy like Papa Noel, or Lowe’s or Home Depot, I don’t think there’s going to be enough to go around,” he said. “Everyone in the market is going to run out of trees this year.”

Coan added that the wholesale price of trees from the Northwest went up nearly 50 percent this year, due to the shortages and transportation costs. He says on his lot, he’s taking a loss to try to keep prices as low as possible, but consumers will feel the higher costs no matter where they shop.

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