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‘I have never seen anything like this’: Dome of heat, flood wreaked havoc on the Christmas tree supply before Christ




If you do not start Christmas tree hunting early this season, securing that perfect part of the holiday tradition can be a challenge.

The Canadian Christmas Tree Association said there is a supply shortage across North America, driven by rising demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click to play video: 'Christmas trees are scarce this season'

Christmas trees are scarce this season

Christmas trees in short supply this season, November 20, 2021

According to CEO Shirley Brennan, Christmas trees are an industry worth $ 100 million a year in Canada, with a $ 49 million product exported primarily to the US.

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Wholesalers can not keep up with the retail demand and even IKEA will not sell real trees in its Canadian stores this holiday season.

The world’s largest furniture brand was unable to provide the necessary local supply of live Christmas trees to meet the needs of its Canadian business this year.

Brennan said they were losing Christmas tree farms to owners aging or retiring, while growers in the Northwest Pacific are also struggling with a lack of co-operation from their tacit partner: Mother Nature.

Unfortunately BC has been hit very hard this year by weather extremes, Brennan told Global News.

The dome of summer heat and now a catastrophic flood have wreaked havoc on crops that take a decade to cultivate.

For ten years, you fed those trees and then for that to happen, Brennan said.

It is devastating.

Read more:

‘A supply shortage there’: Demand for the Christmas tree is high during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic

At Z & Z Christmas Trees in Richmond, Gord Ferguson said all of his trees from Washington and Oregon arrived despite record high summer temperatures in both states, but the aftermath of catastrophic floods in our provinces has an impact.

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“We have never had this rain and that heat cube in our lives,” Ferguson told Global News.

Seventy-five percent of his alpine spruce pre-cut by Merritt arrived early on Nov. 14, shortly before the storm blocked its sender for days.

There are still a hundred of my trees sitting in his yard.

All of Fergusons’ cheapest and long-lasting Charlie Brown trees have stalled in Cranbrook due to closures and delays along Highway 3.

It is unprecedented, Ferguson said.

Everyone feels that you know, the climate is changing.

Click to play video: 'Fire destroys up to 1000 trees on Nanaimo Gogo Christmas tree farm'

The fire destroys up to 1000 trees on Nanaimo Gogo Christmas tree farm

Fire destroys up to 1,000 trees at Nanaimo Gogo Christmas Tree Farm, July 29, 2021

At Pine Meadows Tree Farms in Chilliwack, Arthur Loewen has been growing his holiday base since 1970.

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I have never seen anything like this at this time of year, the old tree farmer told Global News.

Most of his felled trees were under water for a week, but Loewen said they are a rich crop and will survive floods.

With Highway 1 open west of Chilliwack, Loewen said his felled trees have now been handed over and others are being felled for transportation.

Clients he said are also returning to pick and cut their trees after the waters receded.

Heavy rain is not [going to] stop us, said Loewen.

But the heat dome was something Loewen said they had never experienced before.

Read more:

Flood fires: How extreme weather played out in 2021 BC

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Our temperatures reached 45 degrees, Loewen said.

The strong heat was unforgivable and Loewen expects to lose up to 1000 newer trees that were damaged.

The new growth was so gentle it burned it, he said.

Some were burned straight on the stalk. These trees will probably not be good for us.

The industry expects deforestation to end without trees sooner, while some buyers are also choosing their own trees cut earlier than late.

To make sure we have a chance to get a tree because we do not know what it is [going to] be like this year, said fruit buyer Christian Bacon.

We tend to overreact as consumers, but you never know, added Henry Kwaksistala.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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