How much is that tree in the window going to cost this year?

  • Deb Grove of Englewood, Florida picks out a tree at Rocky’™s Hardware in Concord on Monday. Grove is visiting her sister over the Thanksgiving holiday and decided to pick out a tree to take back to Florida since there has been a shortage of trees in the south. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Deb Grove of Englewood, Florida picks out a tree at Rocky’s Hardware in Concord on Monday, November 22, 2021. Grove is visiting her sister over the Thanksgiving holiday and decided to pick out a tree to take back to Florida since there has been a shortage of trees down there in the past. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 11/24/2021 12:36:43 PM

Deb Grove was so worried she will not be able to find a tree in her home state of Florida, she bought one in Concord to bring back home.

“I drove up for Thanksgiving and I’m driving back with a tree,” Grove said this after purchasing an evergreen at Rocky’s Ace Hardware store in Concord.

Grove drove nearly 1,500 miles to visit her family in New Hampshire over the Thanksgiving holiday and will bring the tree back to Englewood, Florida in the bed of her Chevy pickup truck.

“They saying that there’s going to be a shortage,” said Grove, noting that she has had trouble finding trees in Florida in the past.

Product shortages and supply chain constraints have caused some goods to become more expensive and remain in low stock. The same worry cropped up for Christmas trees this season, especially because of panic buying in 2020.

Local vendors have expressed frustrations with procuring their regular shipments of trees, others say there will be plenty to go around. Rocky’s Ace Hardware received only one shipment of trees this year, and is not expecting another shipment this season.

“I’ve got half the trees I normally have now,” said Jay Hackshaw, store manager of Rocky’s Ace Hardware. “We’re going to run out, I don’t think we have another shipment coming. I’m hoping for another one.”

Hackshaw reiterated that most customers purchase their trees after Thanksgiving, so many trees remain in stock, and he remains confident that they will remain in stock for some time.

“Right now we’ve only sold a couple of trees,” said Hackshaw. “I’m not worried about that.”

The Bow Rotary Club, which holds an annual fundraiser selling trees and wreaths, found difficulty in procuring quality trees for the season. Bow Rotary has recently been purchasing their trees from Moffatt’s Tree Farm, based in Craftsbury, Vermont.

“We ordered 100 firs and 100 balsams,” said real estate agent and Rotary Club member Steve DeStefano. “When I first spoke to him, he said I’d be out of luck this year.”

Eventually Moffatt’s came through, but prices went up.

“They went up to $5 each,” said DeStefano. “People got ahead of the curve this year.”

Not only are prices rising, but the selection is much more broad to fill the demand.

“We used to get sizes seven to nine feet,” said DeStefano. “This year it’s five to ten feet.”

Steve Moffatt, owners of Moffatt Farm, is a third generation Christmas tree farmer. To him, this year has seen unprecedented demand.

“We’ve been getting a call a day or at least every other day since June,” said Moffatt. “We’ve never had the volume of calls and new customers looking for trees.”

Moffatt has had difficulties filling some orders for high quality trees the public has come to expect.

“Big, super high quality trees that the public has come to demand will be hard to find,” said Moffatt. “Since I started my businesses, I have never told a customer I couldn’t fill; their order. This year, I’ve had to turn down orders I have been filling for 20 years.”

Even with the supply issues, Moffatt is optimistic everyone will be able to find a tree for the holidays.

“The market has a way of meeting demand ultimately,” said Moffatt. “Santa is still gonna come.”

Full grown Christmas Trees, which can range from six to 10 feet take about six to eight years to fully mature. Donaghey Farm in Pembroke alleviated concerns about a potential shortage and are confident they can meet demand this year.

“We will have comparable tree availability to last year over 6 feet or taller,” said owner Manson Donaghey. “We’ll probably sell as many as we did last year.”

Donaghey notes that erratic weather has hindered tree growth over the last five years.

“The past five or six years we had droughts, which stressed out newer plantings under two and a half feet tall,” said Manson. “This year we had too much rain. The month of July was very wet and it stressed out some of the newer plantings.”

Donaghey plants approximately 1,400 trees each year and losing a handful of trees each year takes its toll.

Despite the challenges with weather, Donaghey will not be raising prices on trees for the season.

“Any tree is $50 this year, and that’s what the cost of the tree was a year ago and several years ago, regardless of size or type,” said Donaghey. 

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