Christmas tree vendors in Alaska say they are mostly well stocked, but with fewer options and higher prices
In a national trend the Grinch would appreciate, summer drought and extreme heat have hit Christmas tree growers in the Pacific Northwest hard, and lingering supply chain issues are impacting the availability of supplies. artificial trees.
This year, the American Christmas Tree Association nonprofit is urge people across the United States to decorate the hallways as soon as they can to avoid missing out on something.
Alaska retailers say for the most part this year they’ve successfully ordered fresh cut trees in the quantities they wanted. However, varieties and sizes will be limited in some cases, and prices are higher than they were last year.
Between nurseries and chain stores like Home Depot, there should be plenty of Christmas trees for Alaskans, said Debbie Bacho, general manager of P&M Garden Services in Eagle River.
But Bacho, whose longtime tree supplier retired a few years ago, has not been able to order as many trees as she normally does. It sells around 250 trees this year, compared to 400 in previous years.
In addition, she could not get enough of the fragrant noble firs which are usually in great demand. She emailed around 200 vendors but couldn’t find any extras, she said. Instead, she’s selling a lot more Fraser and Nordmann firs this year, which she says are gorgeous too.
The moral of the story: shop early to find the right option, she said.
“If you want a freshly cut Christmas tree, buy it now,” Bacho said.
Alaskan tree sellers say the complications they face are due to soaring summer temperatures that have choked growing conditions in states like Oregon and Washington. They come after previous years of drought on the west coast and wildfires that had already affected forest farms, reduce growing area in states like Oregon.
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Shipping growls that led to supply shortages for many manufacturers also contributed to higher prices for shipping trees arriving in Alaska on container ships from the Lower 48, they said.
“Everything is higher,” Bacho said.
A tree that cost around $ 100 in previous years could cost $ 130 this year, she said.
Other retailers say they are lucky to have landed all the trees they wanted.
Alaska Mill and Feed in Anchorage is offloading the newly arrived Christmas trees that it will begin selling on Friday, said Brooke Shortridge, the store’s marketing and e-commerce manager.
They have hundreds of trees, up to 9 feet tall, she said.
The store couldn’t get the bigger 11 foot trees it once had.
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“A lot of people are calling,” she said. “They hear trees are hard to find, so they’re worried they won’t have any. But rest assured, we are receiving our trees.
Mike Mosesian, owner of Bell’s Nursery in Anchorage, said Christmas tree sales continue to grow at the nursery, so he ordered 3,600 this year, more than last year. Some have already arrived and are selling well. The rest will arrive in stages on container ships, offering new options to customers as Christmas approaches.
Mosesian said he was lucky to have a decades-long relationship with a Washington grower who has a good irrigation system and therefore escaped heat-related issues that hurt other growers.
Still, the average price of trees has jumped about 15% due to higher shipping costs, Mosesian said.
And Bell couldn’t get many of the bigger trees she wanted, like the 12ft. They have six, he said.
“Growers don’t like to keep trees in the ground for that long – they want to get their money out of it,” Mosesian said. “So when they get to 6, 7, 8 feet, they harvest them. “
Alaska does not support growing Christmas trees because the firs that make good holiday trees grow too slowly, Mosesian said.
“You need a warm, pleasant climate like in Washington and Oregon, and irrigation,” Mosesian said.
Home Depot stores in Alaska were also able to get the trees they needed, said Erica Lake, deputy manager of Home Depot in Midtown Anchorage. His store has ordered 400 of them, and they’ve been selling fast since they hit the ground last week.
“We’re lucky, I’ll tell you,” she said, referring to the store receiving her orders.
Lake also said stores received all of the artificial trees they ordered.
If the Alaskans are looking for another option, they can cut down spruce trees in some wild areas.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources posts maps showing where Alaskans can legally cut Christmas trees in the Borough of Matanuska-Susitna, the Kenai Peninsula and Fairbanks.
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge announced Monday that Alaskans can cut Christmas trees in the sanctuary, one per household and no more than 20 feet tall, from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Those interested can call the shelter at 907-262-7021 for more information.