No, Christmas tree? Holiday tradition another victim of supply crunch

Climate change, supply chain disruptions among the causes

EUSTIS, Fla. – Tom Utsman has been growing Florida Christmas trees since 1989, but he also imports different types of trees from North Carolina and Michigan and noticed he had to pay a little bit more.

That caused him to raise the price on pre-cut Christmas trees Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Eustis by about 10%.

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“A bigger tree, a large 13, 12-foot tree may be a little more expensive this year,” Utsman said. “If you’re always a Fraser fir person for example, and you’ve got to have the 8 to 9-foot Fraser fur, you’re probably gonna pay more of a premium price.”

It’s all due to the effects of the supply chain issues that’s also hitting the Christmas tree industry.

Christmas tree vendors, like Santa’s Farm in Eustis, say the popular Fraser Fir tree is limited this year due to supply and demand. Utsman tells News 6 climate change has also affected retailers.

“The droughts out west and some of the fires, that’s really impacted a lot of those growers,” he said.

Jerry Jasmin got into the Christmas tree industry 5 years ago. His company called Tree Drop delivers trees door to door. Jasmin said it’s the first time he’s experienced a shortage of trees and higher prices this year.

“Getting the trees down here, that’s been more expensive in itself, so prices have gone up across the board,” Jasmin said. He says he had to pay a few more thousand dollars just to get the trees delivered to him from farms in North Carolina and other places.

“Finding trucks to get down here, refrigerated trucks, that has been much more expensive than it has been in years past,” Jasmin said.

Another issue Jasmin encountered was finding enough trees to meet the demand. Aside from climate change and supply issues, experts say struggling farms planted fewer trees during the Great Recession. That problem has now matured.

“Where one door closed another one opened up -- we made another one open up, so we were able to secure trees from multiple farms but yes, there is a shortage out there and it’s virtually impossible for anyone getting in the industry to secure trees,” Jasmin said.

Getting a Florida Christmas tree

There are several places like Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm that grow Florida trees in Central Florida, including the Florida sand pine and red cedar. You can find information on tree farms in our area HERE.

You can also cut a tree in the Ocala National Forest. We have all the information on how to get a permit to cut your own sand pine on Click