It is the time of year when families and municipalities begin thinking about where they’ll find the best Christmas tree that will adorn the halls, but whether you are looking for a pint-sized Charlie Brown fur or a tree that will fill Rockefeller Center, experts say years of droughts and wildfires are taking their toll.
The National Christmas Tree Association estimates that 25-30 million real Christmas trees are sold every year in the U.S., but that figure can fluctuate due to the availability and the quality of the trees.
"In 2022, we expect to see robust consumer demand for artificial and live Christmas trees. While there may be enough trees for everyone who wants one, the options may be more limited. Our 2022 recommendation to consumers is straightforward: if you want a specific type, style, or size of tree, artificial or live, find it early," said Jami Warner, executive director at the American Christmas Tree Association.
The top tree-producing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington, but many have faced extreme weather events over the last several years, impacting the quality and quantity available.
The ACTA said an ongoing megadrought and wildfires are two of the main reasons for limited supplies from farms.
Around 85 percent of the continental U.S. is experiencing drought conditions that range from abnormally dry to exceptional, with some leading growing areas experiencing dry conditions.
What to do if you aren’t impressed with the live tree selection
The association estimated that 75 percent of Americans displayed a Christmas tree during the 2021 holiday season, and at least that many will fight the urge of the Grinch to do so again this year.
Where live tree quantities are limited, experts believe artificial trees will likely be around to prevent holiday goers from leaving stores empty-handed.
"Luckily for some larger retailers, the 2021 holiday orders that were stuck in shipping ports have since reached their stores, and artificial Christmas trees and décor are ready to hit the shelves as soon as possible," Warner said in a statement.
Due to the country’s vast production from coast-to-coast, experts say the country has never run out of trees, and there is always a region that can fill in if shortfalls arise.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 60 to 70 million seedlings are planted yearly, with only about half surviving through disease and weather extremes to become significant crops.
Rockefeller Center Christmas tree found in Upstate New York
No other Christmas tree in the world gathers as many eyes as the spruce that is decorated with more than 50,000 multicolored lights in the heart of New York City.
For the last three decades, Erik Pauze, the head gardener for Rockefeller Center, has gone on a yearly search for the giant tree.
Rockefeller Center said Pauze’s annual scouting mission found 2022’s tree in Queensbury, New York, about a 50-minute drive north of the state capital.
This year’s 82 feet tall Norway Spruce will be carefully cut down and trucked to Rockefeller Center, where it is expected to arrive on November 12.
Crews will have less than three weeks to decorate the tree with the lights and top it off with a Swarovski star before the lighting ceremony on Wednesday, November 30.
The center’s infamous ice skating is slated to open on November 5, providing an exclusive vantage point of the tree's decorating process.
The Big Appel’s quintessential holiday destinations will be open through the New Year’s Eve.