Fewer real Christmas trees may be available in central Alberta, and shoppers are already on the hunt.
Annessa Parcels, customer service specialist at Blue Grass Nursery, Sod & Garden Centre, said when the recession hit in about 2008 in the United States, fewer people were buying real Christmas trees, so U.S. growers planted less.
“It takes about 10 years go grow a full-size tree. We’re now starting to see the effects of that. There’s less of them available,” Parcels said.
Both Blue Grass Nursery and Parkland Nurseries & Garden Centre say they received fewer trees than they ordered this season, and both had a busy weekend.
“This was a big weekend. Next weekend will be even bigger. It will be about two weeks to Christmas, so lots of people will be putting put up their trees,” said Christine Cornelius, department manager at Parkland.
She said if people want to wait to take them indoors, they can still buy early. Just keep them outside in the shade and they will stay fresh.
Parkland, which gets its Christmas trees from Ontario, ran out of trees last year, so regular customers are coming in early to make sure they get a tree, she said.
Ontario trees are great quality this year, she said.
“You can definitely tell when Ontario has drier weather. This year, they came in really fresh. Everything came in really moist,” Cornelius said.
Parcels said Blue Grass orders its premium trees from Oregon growers. They arrived last Wednesday and they are hanging in a cool zone inside the green house.
“We have all of the trees hanging inside, so they are open, so you can look at it and know the shape,” Parcels said.
She said trees will need about a litre of water per day per 2.5 centimetres of trunk. The trunk needs to be trimmed before it goes into the tree stand, and cold water should not be used for the first watering.
“The first fill that they do after that fresh cut, we tell our customers to use hot tap water. That allows the sap to flow readily after the tree thaws out, and it can draw the moisture up into its extremities,” Parcels said.