AUSTIN, Texas — A newly released report from Texas A&M University states that Christmas tree growers are expecting a sales boost this year. However, prices are predicted to be up slightly due to the drought.
Ryan Maahs with Colorful Christmas Trees said they bought their trees in Oregon because the ones in Texas aren't as pretty this year.
"They had a fresh supply of water in Oregon, as usual," Maahs said.
This means taller, fuller and greener Christmas trees. While this is the first time Maahs has set up his superstore, he said others are telling him the prices of trees have increased.
The price of most real Christmas trees is up 5% to 15% compared to last year. Last year's average was $81, but this year, it'll cost between $85 to $93 for the same kind of tree.
Fred Raley is a tree improvement coordinator with the Texas A&M Forest Service. He is one of those anticipating an increase in live sales this year.
“Since COVID, there have been far fewer family gatherings around the Christmas holidays,” he said. “As a result, there has been an increased desire for families to get together – and to have a Christmas tree as a centerpiece of that gathering. Even with COVID still around and CDC guidelines in place, the desire – and demand – is still there.”
The Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association (TCTGA) reports there are currently 175 Christmas tree farms across Texas, producing about 200,000 trees on 2,500 acres each year.
In addition to the drought these farms experienced, other challenges seen this year include rising production costs. However, TCTGA Executive Secretary Stan Reed said he doesn't expect any drastic cost hikes this season.
“Prices will vary depending on the size and type of tree and may be a little higher than last year,” he said. “But generally, there should be no big price increases. However, where you may find higher prices is for those trees that are grown out of state and then brought into Texas, as they will have additional costs associated with transportation.”
Despite being a little pricier this year, demand will be high. It's the most "normal" year since COVID-19 hit, and people are eager to get back to family gatherings.
Texas A&M reports that the most widely grown live Christmas tree species in Texas are the Virginia pine, Leyland cypress, Afghan pine and Arizona cypress. However, it's the Virginia pine that is the best-selling because of how well it grows in the Texas climate.
“Virginia pine trees were selected by the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association for their survivability, growth and form,” Raley said. “They are also favored for their ability to grow across the state, which is crucial in Texas as more than 90% of all forested land is privately owned.”
To read the full report, click here.