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Christmas tree shortage evident as first weekend of sales kick off

Vendors across Connecticut and the nation have been hit by the Christmas tree shortage for a number of reasons.

VERNON, Conn. — This weekend kicked off Christmas tree sales for many sellers and tree farms. But this year has brought some challenges to Connecticut vendors: a nationwide Christmas tree shortage. 

"We usually sell about 400-500 trees a year. This year, we ended up with about 260," said Kim Mullen, the owner of The Garden Barn Nursery and Landscape.

Vendors across the nation have been hit by the shortage for a number of reasons.

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"Extreme heat in the pacific northwest killed a lot of trees, but also just a shortage of trees overall. And we've had a challenge in getting trees, trucking has also been a challenge," tree shop owner Derrick Norris said.

Another problem that is affecting Connecticut vendors is supply chain issues out of Canada, as well as the amount of time it takes for a Christmas tree to grow.

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"Christmas trees take a while to grow so the Christmas trees that I'm harvesting now that are in that are in that 6-8ft range which is typical of what most people want in their houses, I planted those probably about 8-10 years ago," Greg Pugatch, Owner of Evergreen Acres told FOX61 over the phone.

But despite the shortage, sales are going well. Mullen said all the buzz is generating business.

"I think because of all the energy that the news has spent talking about it that people are definitely actively buying earlier than they usually do, so it's been a really strong first weekend for us," Mullen said.

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Over in Watertown, the local Lions Club also got less than expected, but trees are selling fast. They've sold about 40 percent of their inventory in the first two nights.

"Last year, we saw the demand was increased during COVID. The demand, I think, is going to be even greater this year," said Melita Harris with the Watertown Lions Club. "Of course, the demand is also driven by the fact that there aren't as many trees because last year, they cut a lot of the big trees to meet the demand, so those trees aren't available for this year."

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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