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Northland farmers say only slight price increase to natural trees, no shortage

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:01 AM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Northlanders are already on the hunt for their perfect Christmas tree before the rush.

“We came yesterday too to sort of scope it out and we decided what we wanted and we found the perfect tree, first one we looked at, that doesn’t usually happen,” customer Tom Spehar said.

But, customers might be seeing a slight price increase.

The price increase is due to tree demand and labor shortages.

Douglas Hoffbauer, or Farmer Doug of Hoffbauer Tree Farm, said for natural trees there won’t be much of a stock shortage. Prices might fluctuate but it won’t be anything drastic.

“Our tree prices might be anywhere from no change to 5 dollars higher than they were last year, but those reflect the cost of.. you know 10 dollar hour help isn’t really available anymore so you have to pay considerably more than that,” Hoffbauer said.

Hoffbauer said customers can expect less variety in trees since they were planted more than a decade ago during the 2008-2009 recession when farmers planted slightly less.

“Our tree prices might be anywhere from no change to 5 dollars higher than they were last year, but those reflect the cost of, you know, $10 an hour help isn’t really available anymore so you have to pay considerably more than that,” Hoffbauer said.

Hoffbauer said customers can expect less variety in trees since they were planted more than a decade ago during the 2008-2009 recession where farmers planted slightly less.

“A lot of us tree farmers decided to maybe sit out planting or plant fewer because by the time we get a seedling in the ground we got two, two and a half dollars into it, and maybe rather than planting 3 to 4,000 trees that year we planted 1,500,” Hoffbauer said.

The bigger concern is a natural tree shortage 5-10 years from now, Hoffbauer said.

New trees planted this year struggled with Memorial Day frost and drought.

Click here for more information on the Hoffbauer Tree Farm.

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