Artificial Tree Prices Rise Encouraging People to Buy Real

Ben Nickelson is a third generation Christmas tree farmer in Ludington. He’s seen the demand and supply for real trees change during the family’s many years in business.

“Last year was above anyone’s expectations with everything related to COVID and more people being home which led to increased sales for us last year both on the wholesale and on the retail side,” Nickelson says.

Artificial tree prices are expected to rise this year due to supply chain issues. This may be good for real tree farmers, but their supply is also low throughout the nation.

“This year the supply is a little bit lower,” says Nickelson. “I think the best bet for anyone buying a tree this year is going out to an actual retail lot or an actual farm to buy them.”

Shorter trees will be in larger supply on retail lots and at farms compared to trees over 10 feet. Wholesale buyers will be seeing most of the shortage.

“I think where you might see a hit in the number of trees is going to be in the box stores you won’t see as many at a Home Depot or to Lowe’s or Walmart you’re going to see more of them on the you cut your own or going out to a farm to get him,” says Nickelson.

It’s also possible that more people traveling will impact the number of trees sold.

“We’re expecting very similar numbers maybe a little bit of a drop off on demand because there will be people traveling again,” says Nickelson. “We expect very close demand as we had last year.”

Jason Nelson owns Nelson’s Christmas Trees in Manton. The Nelson family has been in the tree farming industry for 50 years.

He’s optimistic about sales this year, despite the real tree shortage and the cost increase for fake trees.

“That’s great news for the real tree industry,” Nelson says. “There’s such a shortage in real trees as well I don’t know how that’s going to increase when there’s a limited supply.”

Nelson grows his own trees and distributes to whole sale sellers around the state and in Florida. He also has retail lots in places like Cadillac during the holiday season.

He says it takes eight to fourteen years to grow a tree depending on the type and size. His farm is 150 acres with several thousand trees. Larger farms may have up to a million trees.

“We prepared for [shortage] and we grow our own trees,” Nelson says. “Back when we were quite a bit bigger we had about a million trees but now we have a bout a thousand acres.”