Christmas Tree industry growing, good supply despite recent conditions

Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - The Christmas Tree Industry is still going strong despite the recent hurricane, drought and wildfires. Tree sales have gone up the past several years.  

Ashley and Steve Cannon along with their three kids came to the Cardinal Tree Farms Christmas tree stand in West Ashley.

"This is our fourth year and we've been bringing the kids each year," Ashley said. 

Cardinal Tree Farms is based in North Carolina, but they have six locations where they sell their trees in the Charleston area. 

Kody Blevins is the operations manager for Cardinal Tree Farms. 

"There's a demand for Christmas Trees everywhere and this was just a good location to set up many years ago," Blevins said. "It's just grown as Charleston continues to grow."

Though some trees have been impacted by the hurricane and droughts in parts of the state, there are still plenty of healthy trees. On the other hand, Blevins says the North Carolina wildfires have impacted workers. 

"It's not that it does anything to the trees it's just harvest season for us right now and so it makes the working conditions very hard," Blevins said. 

However, if the fires spread to a tree farm it would take years to recover. It takes about a year for a Christmas tree to grow one foot. 

Last year consumers purchased nearly 26 million farm-grown trees. That's a value of more than one billion dollars according to the National Christmas Tree Association. 

"We are limited on certain size trees this year, just because the sales have been going up and the demand for trees is higher than it was for years past," Blevins said. 

Some families know what they like as soon as they come in.

"Usually it has to be the biggest one they have," Steven said.

Today the Cannon family left with a 10 ft tree. 

"We are going home to take out the rest of the decorations and make Christmas come alive at the house for the rest of the day," Ashley said. 

North Carolina is the second largest producer of farm-grown Christmas trees and South Carolina ranks 25 according to the National Christmas Tree Association. 

Blevins says they have unloaded about 6 semi-trucks full of trees this past week. He says last year they sold more than 7,800 trees and they are expecting to sell more this year. 

He says about 90 percent of their customers return the next year. 

"You see the kids grow up from year to year and it's just a relationship that you build," he said. 

It's important that you give your tree enough water when you bring it home.

"I always tell them God gave it water, it don't need anything else, just don't let it run dry," Blevins said. 

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