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Prices of real Christmas trees increase amid rising inflation and supply shortages

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It's another busy season for the real Christmas tree market, with wholesaler Somerville Nurseries, Ontario's largest Christmas tree grower, having sold roughly 130,000 trees this year.

"Sales are great. It just appears that people really want a real tree, and we've seen an increase in sales since COVID," said Fred Somerville, Somerville Nurseries president.

Between 2017 and 2021, the Christmas tree industry grew by $5 million in the province, but inflation has since driven tree prices up.

Workers at Somerville Nurseries load trees in Everett, Ont., on Wed., Nov. 29, 2023. (CTV News/Catalina Gillies)

"That's in response to the input costs, labour is up, fertilizer is up, fuel is up," explained Somerville.

Sommerville, who is also the president of the Canadian Christmas Tree Association, said there is also a bit of a supply shortage country-wide.

"I would say that there are probably fewer wholesale growers, and it's due mainly to succession issues. A lot of people that have been doing it and retired, they don't have any kids or relatives that want to take it over," he noted.

And Doug Drysdale, owner of Drysdale's Tree Farm, has similar thoughts.

"Demand is basically staying the same, but the supply has changed dramatically," he said.

Drysdale's Tree Farm in Egbert, Ont., on Wed., Nov. 29, 2023. (CTV News/Catalina Gillies)

Due to rising costs, Drysdale also had to raise his prices by 5 per cent this year, with trees ranging from $95 to $350, depending on size.

"This trend has been coming on for the last seven or eight years. I don't think it will ever go back to the way it was in the '90s when there were lots of trees around just because there aren't people growing them," said Drysdale.

Even with the price increase, Drysdale said the early part of the tree-buying season has been busy, proving that for many, it may be less about the price tag and more about the experience of buying a Christmas tree.

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