Hard-to-Find Christmas Trees in Lycoming County | News, Sports, Jobs

Tebbs Retail Director Rachel Livermore (Williamsport) cites the 2008 economic crisis as one of the main reasons for the Christmas tree shortage that many are currently experiencing

Santa may need additional guidance this year as Lycoming County has suffered a shortage of Christmas trees.

Local Christmas tree vendors such as Tebb’s Greenhouse at 1620 4 Mile Drive are taking note of the drop in supply this year. The root causes of which date back more than a decade.

“What we are mainly seeing are the results of the 2008 recession”, Tebb Retail Director Rachel Livermore said.

“It’s hard to believe, but it pushed a lot of small growers into Pennsylvania because the tree sales were so low. But it takes 10 to 15 years for trees to grow, so because of that you are seeing the results now ”, she said.

Livermore explained that it is this same delay in profit in the Christmas tree industry that has also contributed to very few young people going into the business on their own.

“There are a lot of up-front costs in the trees so you see little guys coming out because it takes 10 to 15 years to make money off the up-front costs and because of that a lot of the younger generations don’t get it right. just not interested in growing Christmas trees, “ she said. “So now we only see big giant wholesalers growing Christmas trees when 10, 15, 20 years ago you could buy a tree for five dollars anywhere you wanted. But this year they are over $ 100, $ 150.

While Livermore said the 2008 financial crisis was the “Main contributing factor” At the current shortage, she also mentioned a particularly poor tree harvest for one of the state’s most trusted Christmas tree suppliers in North Carolina.

“This is your main contributing factor… But there have been Christmas tree diseases. North Carolina was one of the largest states for Frasier Firs. They had a huge disease (Christmas tree) so we called them for trees. Now North Carolina is calling on Pennsylvania growers for trees because we haven’t had the diseases they’ve seen, ” she said.

And while the tree shortage may make it seem like a whole new phenomenon, Livermore says the dwindling supply actually started almost three years ago.

When asked if she thinks this will become the new normal for buying holiday trees, she said she expected the supply shortage to end in the next few years.

“You’re going to see producers here reaching for their five and six foot trees that are available for cutting. Then, in five years, I think that we will be out of it and that prices may start to come down ”, she added.

However, Livermore also said she was concerned that so many people have switched to artificial trees at this point that the market for natural Christmas trees is almost non-existent.

“But at this point, will demand be low because everyone has gone artificial?” So this is a constant top-down game that you have to play. I think we have beautiful trees, there just aren’t many ”, she added. “I think we started announcing in October that there is a shortage of trees and that if you want a real Christmas tree come early… If you can, I would definitely buy it early and bring it to your place. whenever you want, just to make sure you have one. “

The major tree shortage appears to be affecting Christmas tree vendors of all sizes in the area, as Arnold J. Betts, co-owner of Betts Tree Farm in Linden, also said his tree crop was nearly depleted before Thanksgiving of this year. .

“Normally I don’t see that many sales before Thanksgiving, but this year we’ve had people scoring in the trees and the sales have been strong throughout (Thanksgiving weekend),” said Betts.

Betts says sales rush experienced last year “everything changes” in terms of the volume of business the farm has experienced this year. Noting that the farm has sold “five times more trees” that in a normal year, the amount of trees sold in 2020 left them with a shortfall in the amount of product left to customers this year.

“You associate (the excess amount of trees the farm sold in 2020) with the fact that we had a major drought last year and what that has done for us is that we have no news growth on our trees. So the trees that a lot of people were taking were beautiful trees, but I don’t have that growth for next year ”, he said.

Showing how all logging farms and farmers are affected this year, Betts also noted that his farm has seen a lot of customers shopping with them who previously would have gone to another local farm which has since been closed or closed in order to “Keep stocks for next year”.

“We have seen a lot of new customers this year due to the closure of logging farms in the region and this has added to our deficit for this year”, he said.

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About Bob C. Zoller

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