Dr. Christmas Tree Looks At Evolution of Industry

The Christmas tree, more specifically, the Christmas tree industry has changed and evolved considerably over the past four decades.  In the middle of that evolution is Washington State University’s Gary Chastagner, also known as Dr. Christmas Tree.

 

He notes one of the biggest changes came in the form of consolidation, and bankruptcies, triggered by the 2008 recession.  He added with it taking eight to ten years from planting to harvest, many growers still face challenges.  But not all Christmas tree growers are struggling.

 

“The choose and cut industry around urbanized areas, such as the Puget Sound, they’re doing fairly well, and right now the prices are fairly good because of increasing demand and a lower inventory because of a result of the downturn in the economy after 2008, and it takes a while for the industry tor ramp back up.”

 

Another notable change, the tree itself.  Chastagner said when he started at WSU in the late 1970’s, 90%+ trees were Douglas firs.  But that has changed with the rise in popularity of other varieties such as Nobel and Frasier fir.

 

“Some of the other ones that are increasing like Nordmann and Turkish fir.  These species have very desirable characteristics, strong branches that will hold ornaments and in general they have a very good capability particularly when they are displayed, properly displayed in water holding stands.”

 

Chastagner said like other growers, the Christmas tree industry continues to struggle with labor and transportation costs.

 

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