National tree shortage not an issue for local growers

WAKARUSA, Kan. (KSNT) – Many large operation Christmas tree growers across the nation have fewer trees to sell. While buyers in other states may have concerns, Ryan Mohwinkle’s family will see prices close to what they paid last year.

Mohwinkle has made a tradition of getting a live tree at Country Christmas Trees in Wakarusa for the last few years.

“We always try to get put here quick too because people are starting to find it out more, and they go quick,” he said. “Sometimes in a couple weeks they’re out of trees, so you’ve kind of got to jump on it.”

The owner of the tree farm, Eldon Clawson, said the tree shortage is a long term effect of the 2008 economic recession. Trees take six to seven years to mature, and many growers planted fewer trees seven years ago at the tail end of the recession.

“The economy was very bad here back in ‘08 to ‘10, and so those people quit planting trees, because they’re big wholesalers,” he said.

But, that wasn’t an issue for smaller farms like Clawson’s.

“Around here, we kept planting trees anyway. So, we’re a little better off, a little more stable here in the Midwest.”

Because tree farmers in Kansas aren’t experiencing the same Christmas tree shortages as other states, they can offer prices similar to those from last year.

“I think the farm’s themselves will stay pretty consistent. I’m not sure about the larger box stores, they may increase their prices a little bit,” Clawson said.

Clawson will try to keep his farm open over the next two weekends. Whether it stays open depends on how long the supply of trees lasts and if there is inclement weather either of those weekends.

You can visit the County Christmas Trees website to find out if you can still get your tree there.

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