The Christmas season has many facets including celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ – the original purpose of the day, the giving of presents, decorating homes and businesses, family gatherings, parties, and of course the decorating of the Christmas tree. It seems the cost of purchasing a Christmas tree, whether natural or artificial, keeps going up each year. This year the situation is more complicated.
Many Oregonians already know that the state produces about 40% of the Christmas trees grown in the United States and that is confirmed by the National Christmas Tree Association. As I drive around the Eugene-Springfield area I have seen parking lots with freshly cut Christmas trees for sale just like any other year. I don’t think it’s my imagination, but they don’t seem to have nearly as many trees available as they have in the past. That observation seems to be correct and there is a good reason why. The following information comes from an article on cnn.com written by Meteorologist Jennifer Gray.
A December 6th article titled “Christmas trees burned by the heat, dwindling the supply” was written by CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Gray and published on CNN.com. The article quotes Tom Norby, owner of Trout Creek Farm and President of the Oregon Christmas Tree Growers Association,“I had 30% mortality, but every single seedling is damaged without question.” According to Norby some Oregon tree farms have lost all of their trees.
During the devastating wildfires that destroyed 225,000 acres of land most of the states trees survived. Norby explained “The heat dome came at the absolute worst time. It came when those new seedlings were trying to take root on that fresh soil and push out new shoots, and they just couldn’t compete with that heat.”
The record breaking heat wave occurred at the end of June. Eugene set a record of 103 degrees on June 26th and broke the all-time record the following day June 27th with a high temperature of 111 degrees. Portland set all-time record high temperatures three days in a row with the warmest 118 degrees. The long-term problem is that the damage to so many saplings will be realized seven to ten years from now.
Tom Norby blames global warming for the intense heatwave that has destroyed so many potential Christmas trees. He is hoping that there won’t be another brutal heat wave next year so he will have a chance to save his remaining trees and the ones he plans to plant for the future. Until then you’ll just have to pay the higher prices for your Christmas tree this year, if you can find the one you want, and hope that next year more healthy trees will be available for you to purchase and decorate in your house for Christmas. Just in case you are thinking of buying an artificial tree their prices have also increased due to increased demand and supply chain problems due to the pandemic. Better luck next year to us all and to all a good night.
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