Farms running out of Christmas trees after surge in sales as shoppers buy early

Farms are running out of Christmas trees after a surge in sales as shoppers are buying early.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association said there had been a 24% sales rise year-on-year with some farms having their entire crop snapped up by mid-November.

Managing agent Heather Parry said: “It feels like it’s really buzzing.”

A stocklist kept by the UK’s 320 tree growers has “nothing left on it”, said Olly Combe, the owner of York Christmas Trees.

Mr Coombe supplied the 20ft Nordmann fir to Downing Street this year – his prize for winning the BCTGA show this month.

He sells 11,000 trees a year and currently only has enough stock for his regulars. “I have a friend in Lincolnshire with a slightly bigger business, and he has sold out,” he said.

But he predicted the early sales would not mean a shortage.

He said: “Don’t worry, we won’t run out.”

He advised people to wait until the first or second week of December.

“That’s when the trees are in their best condition,” he said. “They’re a perishable product. Nobody wants a bare tree on Christmas Day.”

He said farms mostly sell to wholesalers who have tended to order fewer trees in advance in recent years, fearing they will be left with excess stock on Christmas Eve.

Mr Combe said. “Well, that won’t happen this year. I just don’t think those trees will be there.”

Managing agent of the BCTGA Heather added: “It feels like it’s really buzzing. Wholesalers are up 24% in sales on last year.

“People will be in smaller groups so we expect there to be more smaller trees around.”

The UK produces about 5.5 million trees and imports another 1.5 million, mostly from Denmark and Belgium.

But she said the supply chain had slowed down because of labour shortages and the pandemic.