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Christmas tree shortage could prove costly

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The festive season is well underway so that means putting the Christmas tree up.

Everyone has their own preference on what type of tree they buy. Artificial, real, drop, non-drop.

Alenka Young, 19 has said: “we don’t always have a Christmas tree, as a family we like to be creative and sometimes use holly branches instead.”

Angela, 40 and Sean Clayton 49, prefer “an artificial tree, we are going to get a new one this year from The White Company, if you spend a good amount on a nice tree you can reuse it every year.”

Fraser William-Smith, 24 “I love having a real Christmas tree, it’s one of the best parts of Christmas.”

But farmers warn we could be facing a Christmas tree shortage. 

Trees ‘lost’ due to hot weather

Tree surgeon Alex Platt said they lost “approximately 1,000 trees this summer due to hot weather.”

Trees growing in field
Yorkshire Tree Contractors plants 3000 trees a year. Picture taken by Alex Platt.

The hot summer, Brexit and the backlash against plastic, are all to blame.

Families are now favouring real trees over artificial trees, however the availability of real trees is running low.

This year Europe had a scorching hot summer, which affected growth and stock levels of Christmas trees.

Yorkshire Tree Contractors planted 3,000 trees this year, however lost approximately 1,000 trees due to our extremely hot summer.

Mr Platt, 19, a tree surgeon from the firm said: “It’s a real shame there’s been hours and hours of work gone into the planting and the upkeep of the area.

“For 3,000 trees it cost roughly £6,000, which includes fertiliser, labour, the purchase of the trees and the installation and purchase of rabbit and deer proof fences to protect the trees.  

“It was our first year of planting these trees and the loss was devastating, however it’s not stopping us from trying again, as Christmas trees are a big business.”

Due to the hot summer, European companies could decide to redirect their stock to inland domestic markets instead of exporting them to countries such as the UK further reducing the availability.

The price of Christmas trees is on the rise due to the reduced number of trees that are available. said: “Costs could skyrocket after Brexit, due to a combination of increased demand as families shun plastic trees and post Brexit import difficulties could lead to astronomical prices on traditional trees.”

There is a fear that leaving the EU will further reduce the supply of trees therefore increase the prices of imported trees.

Locally sourced

However you can get a hold of UK grown trees, Balloon Tree Farm is a supplier in York.

Tom holding Christmas Tree
Tom works at Balloon Tree Farm as the operations manager.

Tom, operations manager at Balloon Tree Farm said that they source their trees from a local supplier in Thornton-le-Dale. The farm prefer to sell locally grown and locally sourced products.

Balloon Tree Farm has been “selling Christmas trees for over 14 years now and generally buying more each year.

“That’s because we’re getting more popular as a site for people to buy trees from, but also due to popularity of the trees going up as well.”

Balloon Tree Farm also offer a recycling service for the environmentally conscious among us.

Once the festive season is over, “people are more than welcome to bring their trees back to us and we’ll either compost them on the farm or dispose of them ourselves.”

The cost of trees are going up each year, with this year being no exception due to the shortage of trees.

Nordman Fir and Fraser Fir are the most popular Christmas trees in the UK.

The Nordman Fir “is big, it’s green, it’s bushy, it’s got longer branches and longer spines. Whereas the other variety the Fraser Fir has shorter branches and shorter spines.”

Christmas Trees for Sale
Christmas trees for sale at Balloon Tree Farm.