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No lack of Christmas trees at some RI farms despite nationwide shortages

Business News

WEST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — The holiday season is upon us, and whether you prefer decorating for Christmas before or after Thanksgiving, one thing is clear: there aren’t a lot of artificial Christmas trees to go around.

But local Christmas tree farm owners tell 12 News there are still plenty of pines, firs and spruce trees, among other types, available at their farms.

John Timothy Leyden of Big John Leyden’s Tree Farm in West Greenwich tells 12 News the word “artificial” isn’t allowed to be uttered on their property.

“My father used to say, ‘real trees for real people,” he explained. “We’ve been planting 9,000 to 10,000 tees every year and we haven’t stopped.”

Leyden said their 100-acre farm has thousands upon thousands of trees in all shapes and sizes for people to choose from.

While there’s no shortage of trees at Big John Leyden’s Tree Farm, they have been receiving a number of calls from vendors looking to purchase trees in bulk.

But Leyden said they plan on continuing to put their customers first.

“We’ve kind of held off, as far as additional retailers, so that we can satisfy our customers who have been coming to Big John Leyden’s for over 50 years,” Leyden said.

The situation is similar at Henry’s Tree Farm in Scituate, with Dave Henry telling 12 News they also have an abundance of trees for people to pick from.

Henry said they’ve also cut down on outside sales and are shifting their focus primarily to the families who prefer to venture out and pick their own trees.

Anyone who plans on buying their Christmas tree from a roadside stand this year shouldn’t wait too long.

While Henry and Leyden’s farms aren’t experiencing tree shortages, other places are and the selection could be pricey and limited.

Henry said this year’s lack of trees, in part, dates back to the Great Recession, when farms began either planting less trees or closing altogether.

Both Henry and Leyden said they’ve never cut back on planting new trees, which is why they believe they have yet to experience a shortage.

Leyden also believes shipping is another reason for the tree shortages, citing a lack of truck drivers and sky-high gas prices.

“Trees aren’t coming out of Canada this year, they’re getting stuck at the border,” Leyden said. “There’s just a real shortage of trees.”

Real Christmas trees aren’t the only ones that will be hard to come by this year. Dr. Jonathan Jackson, an associate professor of supply chain management at Providence College, said people who planned on buying an artificial tree will have a hard time finding them.

“Every supplier of artificial Christmas trees is predicting a shortage, and what’s interesting about that is, on top of the shortage, the cost is also 20-25% higher than it was last year,” he explained.

Leyden said his prices haven’t changed from last year, with 6-to-8 foot Christmas trees costing $60 plus tax. He’s also offering a $5 off coupon online.

Henry said while his prices have increased, it isn’t a significant amount. This year, he said he’s charging 75 cents more per foot.

While retailers struggle to keep both artificial and real trees in stock ahead of the holidays, Leyden said anyone who visits a local tree farm shouldn’t have a problem finding a perfect tree this year.

“There is nothing like a real fresh tree in your house, and waking up to the smell of Christmas every day,” Leyden said with a smile.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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