Darts Christmas Tree Farm in Southold sold out of mature trees last year for the first time in 50 years, and also sold many that weren't mature yet, leaving the farm with fewer large trees this year, owner Ed Dart said.
Several factors are at work. Farmers struggling after the economic recession in 2009 planted fewer trees for several years, and demand has been rising in the last several years, experts told Newsday. It takes eight to 10 years for a tree to reach maturity.
Shipments of artificial trees have been delayed this year due to supply chain issues including a shortage of truck drivers to make deliveries.
“Some of the major retailers say they have about 43 percent of their inventory right now when it should be closer to 70 percent at this time of the year,” Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents Christmas tree retailers, told the newspaper.
Costello’s Ace Hardware, which sells artificial trees at 22 locations on Long Island, has raised prices as much as 25 percent, category manager Andy Pergament told the newspaper. The chain normally has Christmas merchandise set up in stores by late October but is still waiting for some artificial trees being shipped from China that are supposed to arrive next week, he said.