Christmas trees are going fast

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Christmas trees are going fast in Smithfield, despite a reduced inventory this year.

Boy Scout Troop 25 expected to sell out last weekend, while Smithfield True Value had a run on natural trees on Thanksgiving weekend and had to reorder.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Troop 25, which has sold trees at Wise Tire on South Church Street for years, had to order from three different farms and still didn’t get its regular order, said Troop mom Tracy Adams. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Jeff Miller with the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association said he wouldn’t call it a shortage, per se, just a tighter supply.

Retailers will likely have an adequate supply, but won’t have as much leftover this year, Miller said.

The reduced supply is the result of the recession when growers planted fewer trees. Since it takes six to eight years for a Christmas tree to mature, those fewer plantings are now resulting in a reduced crop, Miller said.

Couple that with a bigger demand for fresh cut trees and it seems like a shortage, Miller said, adding that growers have since increased plantings.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is urging people to opt for a natural tree this year as an environmental aid.

“Real Christmas trees are a renewable resource that clean our air and water. After the holidays they should be planted, composted, or recycled into mulch,” said CBF Virginia Watershed Restoration Scientist Matt Kowalski. “

Buying a real Christmas tree is also a great way to support local growers this season.”

For some people, having a real Christmas tree is not a viable choice. However, an artificial petroleum-based tree is used on average for just six to nine years before it takes up permanent space in the local landfill, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Because real trees are biodegradable, they can be recycled rather than disposed of in a landfill.

The town of Smithfield offers a tree pick-up and recycling service for residents through Jan. 11. Residents can call 365-4200 and give the address for the pick-up, said Sonja Eubanks with the Town of Smithfield.

Meanwhile, some former Christmas tree sellers have opted out this year, or have stopped completely.

The Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department used to sell Christmas trees as a fundraiser, but stopped a few years ago, said member Albert Burckard.

The department had priced itself out of the market because they had to hike the price to make any money, he said.

Plus, they often had too many left over, Burckard said.

“Now there are trees all over the place.”

It’s hard to beat the under $30 price tag on trees sold at Farm Fresh and Food Lion. However, Troop 25 offers trees at $35 and up, plus it trims the bottom of the tree and delivers. Proceeds benefit the Troop’s activities.   

Farmers Service isn’t selling trees this year because the supplier is no longer doing Christmas trees, but the store is offering poinsettias.

Kim Pugh of SummerWind Vineyard in Morgarts Beach no longer plants new eastern white pine, but is selling what inventory they have left. Pugh said the offerings are limited, as the trees are either very large, and fat, or are from four to six feet.

Miller said the most popular Christmas tree in Virginia is the Fraser Fir, but the variety can only be grown in the western part of the state.

Pugh said they tried spruce and fir, but Tidewater’s hot, humid climate did not agree with those varieties.

Zuni Tree and Alpaca Farm offer Fraser firs from the western part of the state, as well as cut-your-own eastern white pine, Virginia pines, red cedars and cypress at its facility off Tomlin Drive.

For more information, visit  {/mprestriction}