Onslow County tree farm feels impacts from past growing breaks
ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -An Onslow County Christmas tree farmer says they sold out of Christmas trees this past weekend, the earliest that has ever happened in the more than three decades they have been in business.
Family farmer Becky Rooks said. “It is six to seven years later and we’re now feeling that gap,” said Rooks.
Rooks is referring to when some Christmas tree farmers took a break from planting because of the increasingly popular fake tree.
“We had a couple of years where we didn’t plant any Christmas trees because we thought we had enough. Same thing with the Christmas tree growers in the mountains,” she said.
Justice Tree Farm in Onslow County grows its own trees and receives some from the mountains. Rooks said they got in less Fraser Furs from their mountain supplier due to the break in growing and other environmental factors.
Fewer trees has also meant an increase in prices.
James Sprunt Community College agricultural professor Star Jackson explained the cycle trees go through. “You’re going to see times when we have plenty of water and you’re also going to see times where we don’t have a lot of water.”
Adding to the challenge is the fact that more and more people once again want the “cut down your own tree experience” during the pandemic.
“They don’t care if it was a Cedar tree that grew in someone’s back yard. They wanted to cut it down themselves and have that experience with their family,” said Rooks.
As Jackson explained ever-changing holiday trends force farmers to keep up. “As trends change producers are having to project on those trends. Sometimes that works out really, really good, and then sometimes it doesn’t work out economically to their advantage.”
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