Christmas tree supply tight, some small farms close early

Oregon

OSU professor says oversaturated market in previous years drove some growers out of the business

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Some small Christmas tree farms are closing their gates early, or skipping the season entirely, citing a shortage of trees.

Oregon leads the country in Christmas tree production. The state’s largest tree farm, McKenzie Farms, sends trees all over the country and even overseas. Between its Estacada location and sister-farm in North Carolina, McKenzie Farms ships about 1.5 million trees each fall.

However, experts say there are about 400 fewer growers in the state now than in the mid-2000s.

Many growers left the business because, at the time, demand and prices were too low to make a profit, according to Chal Landgren, professor in OSU’s College of Forestry at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center. Now, that has left Oregon with a tight supply, Landgren told KOIN 6.

JTB Christmas Trees in Gresham and Quail Creek Ranch Christmas Trees in Portland announced online that they would be closing early for the 2019 season due to supply (Quail Creek still has pre-cut trees).

Historic Kirchem Farm closed early last year and didn’t open at all this season. The owners of the farm near Oregon City said their trees need another year to finish growing. Douglas firs take 7-10 years to grow to the right size for Christmas trees.

Some of the farms that are still open advise customers to be prepared to search harder than usual for their tree.

You can also still get a tree from several National Forests in Oregon and Washington. Just make sure to get the $5 permit first.

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