(© Can Stock Photo / sparkia)(© Can Stock Photo / sparkia)

Local greenhouse keeping up with Christmas tree demand

A local greenhouse owner says there are enough Christmas trees to meet demand this holiday season, despite national shortages being reported.

Back in 2008 and 2009, many growers didn't end up planting trees due to the poor economy. Those trees would usually take about 12 years to grow, and now the impacts are now being felt across the board.

Praill's Greenhouse Owner Ian Praill said thankfully they were able to prepare and be proactive when it comes to sourcing trees.

"This year, we're at just over 1,000 trees, and we've been increasing," said Praill. "Three years ago, we were probably at around 700 to 800. So, we have been able to keep up with demand locally and hopefully that continues. There's nothing more disappointing than having somebody come in and they don't have a tree for Christmas."

Praill said the Balsam Fir used to be the number one evergreen in demand, they were grown right across Quebec and through Nova Scotia.

He said the Fraser Fir has taken over as the most popular type. It lasts four to six weeks in the house, compared to two to three weeks for the Balsam. He said that transition has spurred demand for the Fraser even more.

"With the environmental issue, I think there was a stigma in our industry that people didn't want a real tree because it was being cut down and hitting the landfill," he said. "The roles have changed and people are realizing that the tree grown in a field for 10 to 12 years produces a lot of oxygen and is good for the environment. Now, people are wanting to go to a get real tree because it's actually a more sustainable environmental option. Yes, you keep an artificial tree for 10 years but eventually they end up in a landfill."

Praill predicts it'll take another two to three years before trees are back up to satisfactory levels. He notes prices haven't increased much, most trees are selling for about $5 more than normal.

He said this coming weekend is usually the busiest for them, coinciding with Sarnia's Santa Claus Parade.

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