As shortages of Christmas trees drive up prices in some parts of the country, a statewide expert says New York has an abundant supply of trees.
Growers in un some other sttaes reduced their plantings in some prior years. Meanwhile, the number of licenses tree-growers has declined in some regions since 2010.
But Mary Jeanne Packer, executive director of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, told WBFO many farmers across the state have found success in sticking to a particular planting technique.
“We are not experiencing the same shortages that some other parts of the country are,” said Packer. “And that’s because our growers continued to planting regime 10 or 15 years ago when other states had kind of given up hope and it looked like the fake tree had won.”
Many growers plant at least three or four trees for every tree that's cut down, Packer said, noting that it's quite common for farmers to lose trees to deer or other factors.
While New York is ahead of the game in the number of trees available, Packer acknowledged that another factor unrelated to supply has increased the costs of trees. She said increases in the minimum wage drive up expenses for some growers.
“The biggest expense is payroll,” she said. “And here in New York State, our minimum wage is set for us and it keeps going up more each year. So in an effort to pay our farm workers a fair and living wage, the cost of the tree is going up right along with the labor cost.”
The association encourages consumers to buy trees from local markets as opposed to larger corporate entities.
A national trade group estimated that the average cost of a tree this year will be just under $75.00 Average prices for New York were unavailable.