Nov 23, 2022 - News

Inventory woes hit Pennsylvania's Christmas tree industry

Illustration of Christmas trees formed from Axios logos.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Live Christmas trees may be harder to come by this year due to low inventory.

Driving the news: The Christmas tree-growing industry has been plagued by challenges in recent years.

  • Drought in Pennsylvania — which ranks third in the nation for the number of Christmas tree farms in the state — led to lower yields for some farmers in 2022.
  • The industry is grappling with an aging workforce, with some farmers seeking to sell their land or plant other crops.
  • Inventory has also suffered since some small farmers abandoned the business about a decade ago due to small profit margins, Aaron Grau, executive director of the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association, told Axios.

Between the lines: The slim pickings may lead to higher prices.

What they're saying: Grau warned that shoppers may have to hunt around for their preferred evergreen or settle for their second choice.

  • "You're just going to have to maybe compromise a little bit on size, or species or price this Christmas and maybe next Christmas too," he said.

Curtis Fowlkes, who has sold Christmas trees at the triangle at 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philly for more than three decades, told Axios his costs were higher, but he expected to keep prices similar to last year to ensure affordability for customers.

  • "Just by serving the people is alright with me," he said.

Be smart: Grau suggested shoppers get their Christmas trees earlier than normal.

  • Plus: Call ahead to shops or tree farms to get prices and ensure they have the tree you're looking for.

A few options for where to buy:

1 cool thing: If you're up for an adventure, you could trek to Indiana County, located near Pittsburgh, which bills itself as the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World."


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