Don’t wait too long to buy a tree; nationwide Christmas tree shortage hitting WI

The nationwide Christmas tree shortage is again hitting home. Weather is playing a big role in why Wisconsin is seeing such a low supply right now.

Lance and Gayla Jensen own Jensen Trees in Verona. They tell News 3 it has been a good year for tree growth, but the wacky weather has had its impact on their crops.

They had a little over an acre that got flooded with the heavy rain storms this summer. They lost most of the young trees under 3 inches in that area. The Jensen’s say the best thing is to remain flexible and resilient. What’s tricky is Christmas trees are a longer term crop, in that the average cycle from planting to harvesting is about eight years.

“We had a glut of tall trees for ten years, and now we’re at the other end of the cycle, where we’re growing them, and we will have a bunch, but they’re all little,” said Gayla Nichols-Jensen.

American consumers are expected to buy around 27 million trees this year. Experts say you can blame the nationwide shortage on the 2009 recession and an excess amount of trees a decade ago that drove many growers out of the business. When the economy struggled, tree farmers cut back on plantings.

Those trees were set to come to market over the next few years. That means while the demand is high in today’s good economic times, the supply is low, making things difficult local farms like Jensen Trees. Then you add on the fact they’ve had so many challenging growing seasons due to weather.

“Our seasons used to be 6 weeks long, from the day after Thanksgiving up to Christmas, and we close 2 maybe 3 weeks in because we just don’t have as many trees and there are a lot more people,” Jensen added.

The Jensen’s say Wisconsin actually has some of the best Christmas tree crop in the country. One of the more popular trees here are the Fraser Firs.

The average cost for a tree nationwide right now is $75. Don’t wait too long if you’re hoping to get the cream of the crop. At Jensen’s, trees are expected to go fast over the next couple of weeks.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.