Christmas trees hard to come by thanks to drought conditions

Xmas trees in short supply

It's becoming harder than ever to find Christmas trees this holiday season as suppliers leave and prices continue to climb, according to one Kamloops retailer.

Fred Ramgren, manager of Art Knapp Kamloops, said it’s been harder than ever to find trees to bring into the store after losing their main supplier and struggling to find a new one.

“Every year is a little more difficult. We were with a supplier for quite a while and now we have a couple of people that have tried to fill in as much as possible,” said Ramgren.

“But they also supply to others and we're new to them, so it's not as easy as just asking someone else to supply the trees.”

Ramgren said drought conditions and wildfires have played a role in reducing both the quantity and quality of Christmas trees.

“The droughts certainly reduce the size and the quality of trees that we get in drought conditions, and fires reduce the natural ability for people to go out and source their own as well,” said Ramgren.

“Not to mention that the heat dome also had a huge effect on trees a couple of years ago — it was so unseasonably warm that it did cause some problems for growth as well.”

Ramgren said the lack of moisture means some trees may be smaller or less full, calling it an issue that has had an effect on the whole industry.

He said prices have been increasing steadily year over year, increasing as much as 50 per cent over previous years.

“I think people could see where if you were paying $120 it might be $140 now for a tree,” Ramgren said.

He speculated that some of the difficulty in finding a Christmas tree supplier is due to business leaving the industry.

"I think it's just that people are getting out of that business, more than anything," Ramgren said.

"I'm only speculating, but it just seems as if people aren't staying in that sort of field. No pun intended."

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