Christmas tree farms expecting boost in business this season

David Morris, owner of Red Barn Tree Farm in Miamisburg, looks over one of the trees that was purchased over the weedend. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
David Morris, owner of Red Barn Tree Farm in Miamisburg, looks over one of the trees that was purchased over the weedend. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Several area Christmas tree farm owners say they are already worried about running out of trees this year.

Retailers are already reporting demand for Christmas decorations is up this year. But the tree farmers said that the demand tied with the supply is making it a struggle to keep Christmas trees in stock.

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Jay Stookey, whose family owns Country Charm Tree Farm in Xenia, said Christmas trees generally take about eight years to grow, so the trees that are being harvested this year were planted in 2012. Around that time, the last recession had still hit families hard, and farmers were planting fewer trees because there was less demand. Some farmers even bulldozed their trees because they thought they had too many, he said.

Olyvia Davis, 16 months, shows her mother Kelsey, a branch off of a Christmas tree while visiting Red Barn Tree Farm in Miamisburg on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Olyvia Davis, 16 months, shows her mother Kelsey, a branch off of a Christmas tree while visiting Red Barn Tree Farm in Miamisburg on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Now tree farmers are overplanting, so there should be a glut of Christmas trees in the next five years. His family also plans on expanding the tree farm soon to about 20,000.

But tree farmers are also seeing a high demand for trees this year. The National Christmas Tree Association, which represents hundreds of organizations in the Christmas tree industry, said that farmers saw a high volume of requests for trees before Thanksgiving. Pumpkin and berry-picking farms also saw record numbers of people over the summer looking to get outside, it said.

From left, Neal, Lily, Christy and Laurel, the Kennedy family from Springboro, prepare to place their fresh cut Christmas tree they purchased from Red Barn Tree Farm in Miamisburg onto the top of their SUV on Friday, Nov 27, 2020. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
From left, Neal, Lily, Christy and Laurel, the Kennedy family from Springboro, prepare to place their fresh cut Christmas tree they purchased from Red Barn Tree Farm in Miamisburg onto the top of their SUV on Friday, Nov 27, 2020. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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“All signs indicate that it’ll be a good season for us,” said David Morris, owner of Red Barn Tree Farm in Miamisburg.

Morris said he’s had a lot of calls and social media engagement so far, which usually translates into sales.

Peter Berninger, of Berninger Trees and Wreaths in Lebanon, said there were already more than 100 cars in the parking lot on Friday morning. He said he worried they will run out of live trees by next weekend.

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Some farms have also planned to close earlier than usual this year. Fulton Farms in Troy said on Facebook it will only be open for people to get live Christmas trees between Nov. 27 and Dec. 6.

Red Barn Tree Farm on Soldier's Home Miamisburg Road, Miamisburg. Where you can cut down your own Christmas tree.
Red Barn Tree Farm on Soldier's Home Miamisburg Road, Miamisburg. Where you can cut down your own Christmas tree.

Tree farms said they will also take extra precautions this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many farms require people wear masks and social distance. Some farms, like Country Charm Tree Farm, said it won’t offer free hot chocolate and cookies this year because of the risk of spreading COVID-19.

But going to a Christmas tree farm is an outdoor activity that can be socially distanced, owners said.

“People want a reason to get out, and this would be a reason to get out and get outdoors,” Morris said.

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