Coast Christmas tree lots see high demand but tight supply

Coast Christmas tree lots see high demand but tight supply

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Christmas tree lots are dealing with a tight supply this year on the Gulf Coast, with some lots predicting that they will soon be completely sold out of trees.

One of the tree lots expecting to sell out this week is Robert Anderson Christmas Trees on the corner of Popps Ferry Road and Cedar Lake Road in Biloxi.

“Everybody seems to be going to a real tree this year, so we’re predicting to be out in the next three to four days," said employee John Schill. “This will be the earliest we’ve ever been out."

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, buyers are wasting no time bringing home a tree to decorate for the holidays. Chip Speaker made sure to get his tree early this year after learning a hard lesson last year.

“I’ve come here several years, and I waited too late last year, and they were out of trees," said Speaker. “So, I came early this year, and I’m pleased with what I got.”

According to the Biloxi tree lot, they order around 1,000 Fraser firs each year to fill the lot. This year, they only received 500.

Why the tight supply? Go back a decade ago to the 2008 recession. Tight budgets forced growers to plant fewer trees. On top of that, Schill said Hurricane Florence’s destruction in the Carolinas also dented supply. Now, it’s going to take some time to boost the supply again to meet demand.

“It takes several years to grow a tree," explained Schill. “Here in the next couple of years, its really going to hurt us. We order X amount of trees, and they can’t fulfill that order because of it being short."

According to Schill, the lot’s taller trees also sold out before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We are completely out of big trees. We’ve only got 10-foot and under left."

And if you want one of those, it’s going to cost you.

“When (the wholesalers) go up, we have to go up a little bit as well, to keep in with the demand," said Schill.

Don’t lose hop, though, if you are wanting a live tree for the Christmas holiday. You still have a good chance of finding one, said Schill, but he does advise that you not wait too long to go get it.

Experts said the tree shortage is unlikely to impact larger retailers like Home Depot.

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