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December 5, 2022

Christmas tree prices higher for 2021 season

Amid record inflation for everyday goods, prices were also higher in Iowa for real Christmas trees this year as well.

Christmas tree vendors are working with customers to find solutions, industry members told The Center Square Friday.

Iowa Christmas Tree Association board member and national representative Reid Bermel told The Center Square in a phone interview that he has heard from “seasoned” growers that sales increased this year, including to families who bought a real tree for the first time in 2020. While in past years businesses have sold trees between Thanksgiving and Christmas, some businesses sold out within the first weekend, he said.

He said he’s heard that Iowa choose-and-cut prices have been lower compared with the national level. Most farmers are selling trees for about $7 to $10 per foot of tree in Iowa, he said. Nationally, he’s heard prices are upwards of $12 to $15 a foot. Some businesses are selling trees at a set price point regardless of height.

“I feel that prices have been coming up to where they should be because I feel for the longest time, a lot of the Christmas tree growers with choose-and-cuts have actually had their trees underpriced in Iowa, almost, compared to other neighboring states and what the trend has been across the nation,” he said. “But … at the end of the day, every Christmas tree grower is kindhearted and the last thing that they want is a family not to go home with a tree so they’re going to do everything they can to work with families in need.”

He said Iowa growers tend to work with families to find a tree that is within their budget. Some Iowa tree farmers have cut into the next year’s stock, referred to neighboring farms, or donated to Trees for Troops, which provides trees to military families, he said.

Bermel said that Iowans who can’t find the tree they had in mind, there are alternatives.

“If you just have to have that Frasier fir, you might not necessarily get it from an Iowa grower,” he said. “You might have to get it from a box store or a tree lot. But if you’re more open to a different variety of tree, it might just be a new favorite tree.”

Droughts in Iowa this year impacted younger trees, which will be available in about five years, he said. A handful of growers lost nearly their whole crop, despite irrigating, he said.

Iowa Christmas Tree Association former president David Pierce told The Center Square in a phone interview that his company, Honey Creek Timbers Christmas Trees & Wreaths, saw higher demand this year and has already sold out of real Christmas trees, despite increased prices. He said prices probably rose less than 10%.

He said demand came earlier this year and there may have been several reasons for that, including concerns about availability.

“I think there was an awareness among the public that there may be a shortage of trees,” he said.

Pierce said they also saw several people who were first-time buyers of Christmas trees.

The company, a cut and choose farm, was not able to increase the trees it sold, he added. In southeastern Iowa, it can be difficult to grow the trees since it’s a warmer climate, he said.

“I think the Iowa Christmas tree growers are working hard at it and trying to stay up with demand,” Pierce said.

This article was originally posted on Christmas tree prices higher for 2021 season