Lowcountry Christmas tree farms experience shortage

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A shortage of North Carolina Frasier Fir trees has some Lowcountry Christmas tree farms struggling to fill their supply.

“Our tree grower in North Carolina decided he couldn’t fulfill our order this year,” Julia Walters, the owner of Toogoodoo Christmas Tree Farm said. “They are having a big shortage in Frasier Firs in North Carolina. The growing time is 7 to 8 years for a Frasier Fir and the recession was during that time. They didn’t plan trees in the quantity that is needed today, so a lot of people are having a shortage.”

The Toogoodoo Christmas Tree farm sells locally grown trees like Virginia Pines and also the more common Frasier Fir.

That’s why Walters said they had to look elsewhere to try and get their order filled.

“We were able to find 180 Frasier firs to bring in and we’re probably going to sell out of those pretty quick,” Walters said.

The trees that are available to sell aren’t as large as they have been, Walters said.

The owner said the trees they were able to get are between 6 to 8 feet tall, but despite the lack in height she said the trees they did get are good quality.

“You’re going to have a hard time finding a big ‘ol tree this year,” Walters said. “So, if you want it you better go today.”

More people have the money to spend on going out and buying a real tree, but the demand isn’t there.

“More people are buying trees and not using artificial trees so they’re buying fresh trees, but the supply is not there,” Walters said.

The lack of supply also adds a sense of urgency to get a tree before they are gone.

“Last year we sold all our trees that we bought in in two weeks,” Walter said. “That was the fastest we ever sold out and people are buying trees earlier. It used to be the first weekend in December, we’re usually all gone by then.”

Walters said North Carolina is the second largest producer of Frasier Firs in the country, after Oregon. She attributes the lack of trees to less planting during the recession and tree farmers entering retirement.

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