Christmas tree lots see shortage of trees; demand steady despite pandemic

Christmas tree lots see shortage of trees; demand steady despite pandemic
The next batch of Christmas tree Landscapes by Mew receives will be 50% what the owner ordered. (Source: WMBF)

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of things in 2020, but one thing it hasn’t changed is the community’s need for Christmas trees.

The team at Booth’s Christmas Tree Farm in Conway was slightly concerned about the impact the coronavirus pandemic would have on sales, but one employee said it’s been busier than ever so far this year.

“My momma and my uncle have been working out here since they were teenagers, so once we got old enough, we used to come out here and have fun,” said Talisha Bell, who has worked at the farm for more than two decades. “When we got old enough, they come out here and put us to work.”

Bell has been helping out at Booth’s Christmas Tree Farm since she was four years old.

She’s seen a lot of busy Thanksgiving weekends, but none as busy as this year.

“Usually around Dec. 1, we have a good bit of trees, but right now, we’re almost sold out, even in the fields,” said Bell. “It’s real crazy.”

Owner Haley Booth said management considered ordering 10% fewer trees this year because of the pandemic, but with the way trees are selling, he’s glad they went for the full order.

Over at Landscapes by Mew, trees have been selling at a normal rate. However, supply has now become an issue as the calendar turns to December.

“I have not been able to get the number of trees that we normally are able to get,” said Paul Mew, owner of Landscapes by Mew.

Mew said the shortage on Fraser firs weren’t caused by the pandemic, or even fires in North Carolina. Instead, his grower told him it all has to do with the recession in 2008.

“The Christmas tree growers weren’t selling the number of trees they’re accustomed to selling,” said Mew. “Because they weren’t cutting trees, they weren’t replanting trees, and the trees they would’ve been planting 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 are the trees that would be harvested now.”

Mew showed WMBF a piece of the stump from the very next Fraser fir he sold.

“I just counted, but if you count the rings, there’s 12, so this tree was planted in 2008,” said Mew.

Even though he doesn’t have as many trees, Mew’s still happy that people have been coming out to get trees despite the pandemic, because Christmas tree season is his favorite time all year.

“For me and my family, Christmas trees are a special time of year for us,” he said. “Every customer is happy, but what’s different this time of year is there’s a lot of children, and we enjoy that.”

Mew said he ordered the batch he’s selling right now this time last year, and the next batch that he’s getting next week is only about half of what he’d usually receive.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.