Kingston, Ont. Christmas trees in high demand, shortage persists – Kingston

Christmas tree season in Kingston, Ontario is in full swing as the first major sales weekend approaches – exactly one month before Christmas Day.

“It looks like a great year again, the trees are looking great this year,” says Christmas tree salesman Tom Teal. « A bit of rain at the moment helps them with a bit of watering and that sort of thing. And a bit of snow last weekend to get people in the mood.

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Teal has been selling Christmas trees at the Canadian Tire lot near Princess Street and Bath Road for years now, and predicts it will be sold out as early as two weeks before Christmas.

« We’ll know in a few weeks, but sales have been, the last three or four years, earlier than other years, » Teal says. « Before it was always until the third or fourth day before Christmas, but now it’s the second week before Christmas that things usually sell out – so you never know from year to year. »

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These early sales were due, in part, to strong market demand, but also to supply shortages and weather issues.

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Growers warn Christmas tree shortage set to last several years

« A lot of the little places are actually closing because people are getting older and retiring and their kids don’t want to take over, » says Connor Oke, manager of the Riley Garden Center.

« There’s also very strong state demand on Canadian trees, so a lot of them are being shipped south, » Oke continues. « And then global warming on top of that, so it’s getting a lot harder to grow a Christmas tree than it was 20 years ago. »

While Riley’s Garden Center has been able to meet supply and demand, Oke says inflation is taking its toll.

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« The prices keep going up, there’s no getting around that, » he says. « Between global warming affecting them growing…and on top of increased freight, there’s no way the price of Christmas trees will drop any time soon. »

This season, shopping as early as possible is the recommended way to be sure to find a tree – before it runs out.

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