Sold out: Unprecedented demand for real Christmas trees impacts tree farm supplies
PHELPSTON, ONT. -- The pandemic's first wave sparked a widespread shortage of toilet paper as people scrambled to bulk up on everyday necessities, and during the second wave, the need to bring some cheer to those COVID blues has resulted in a Christmas tree shortage.
In Nottawa, the last of the holiday trees were taken off the lot at the Quesnel Christmas Tree Farm on Thursday.
The demand for real trees has been unprecedented this season, and the supply is proving to be limited.
Blair Quesnel says his tree farm has been sold out since last month, and he admits he's never seen anything quite like this in his 40 years in the business.
"It's been busier than ever. I've never seen so many new people," Quesnel says.
He says promoting online has garnered new interest, aiding in the limited supply.
And the shortage isn't just in Nottawa. It's being felt right across North America. Industry leaders say they lost many growers 12 years ago after an economic downturn south of the border. Experts say it doesn't bode well for supply, considering it takes a tree more than a decade to fully mature.
Bridle Tree Farms in Apto has 10,000 trees on the lot at various ages. But Owner Chris White says once the trees are gone, they're gone. "I can't get anymore," he says.
Tree farms are noticing more people who typically wait to purchase their trees are showing up to pick them out weeks earlier, and in many cases, they are pre-booking and prepaying to ensure they get what they want.
If a real Christmas tree is on your wish list this season, you could be out of luck.