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NC Xmas Trees: Low Supply, High Demand

christmas trees
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina Christmas tree supply might be a little tighter this year thanks to a variety of market factors.

The 2008 economic downturn slowed sales and that meant less space to plant new trees, which take 7 to 10 years to grow.

"You know, if you had two or three years of slower sales, that backs up your inventory just like traffic would back up on the highway," said Jeff Owen, a Christmas tree specialist with the N.C. State University Extension.

Owen said the shortage will drive up demand and fuel an early sales rush.

"They have cut back numbers just a little bit," said Owen, after talking to several growers who supply Christmas trees to wholesalers, "and warned folks that they better get their order up front because their ability to provide second or third orders late in the season is probably not going to be there."

North Carolina is the nation's second biggest producer of Christmas trees after Oregon, shipping about 75 percent of its supply out-of-state.

Owen said 95 percent of the state's Christmas trees come from the western part of North Carolina.

The Tar Heel State mostly produces Frasier Firs grown in the mountains but other varieties from the Piedmont and Coastal Plain include Leyland Cypress and Virginia  and White Pine.

Rusty Jacobs is WUNC's Voting and Election Integrity Reporter.
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