Despite tighter Christmas tree supply, some Missouri sellers balk at ‘shortage’ talk

Missourians may find fewer Christmas trees to choose from on local lots this holiday season, but vendors’ opinions on whether there is a tree “shortage” seem to vary depending on where their trees are sourced.

The Great Recession is again being blamed for lower supply in some states. The trees can take eight to 10 years to grow to an optimal height, and farms scaling back or shuttering due to financial pressure around 2008 appears to have diminished the supply of mature trees.

For sellers that get their trees from Missouri, those issues were compounded by drought in the state in 2003 and 2004.

National Christmas Tree Association data shows a longer-term dip in trees harvested in Missouri and most other states. The figures in Missouri:

  • 2002: 92,483
  • 2007: 27,344
  • 2012: 32,810

Still, some Christmas tree sellers in Missouri insist that “shortage” is a misnomer.

“‘Shortage’ sounds like there’s not going to be a tree for everybody,” said Steve Meier, president of the Missouri Christmas Tree Association. “But that’s not true. There’s an abundance of trees for everybody to find a tree, it’s that you don’t have as much of a choice to choose from.”

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio

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