Christmas tree shortage still trickling into 2020 holiday season

Posted at 12:31 PM, Nov 20, 2020

SUFFOLK, Va. - "This is the Cadillac of Christmas trees. This is what everyone wants," said Mike Helvestine.

The coveted Fraser fir may be harder to come by this year, Helvestine, owner of Santa's Forest and Nursery in Suffolk, told News 3.

"We bring them in from the mountains of North Carolina, and the price has just skyrocketed on trees," he said.

The Christmas tree shortage he experienced last year continues to trickle into 2020, in a time everyone needs a little extra cheer.

"The demand is just way up," Helvestine said. "It takes five to seven years to grow a tree, so it's just gonna take time to catch up."

Helvestine says in 2018, 350 trees were delivered to his farm. Last year, it was down to 190, and this year it was cut again, with only 150 trees delivered.

"The phone been ringing off the hook," he said. "People want to start coming in before Thanksgiving to get trees, and once they are gone, they are gone."

So, he is pushing on, not letting the shortage or the pandemic uproot the spirit of the season.

"We like watching the families come out, and they take pictures of them cutting down their trees," he said.

Santa's Forest is all about safety this year. Only 25 people can be on the lot at a time.

"We ask you to wear a mask, and we also will provide sanitizer," he said. "We really just want to do this for family and for tradition."

Did you know that there are 20 different varieties of trees, according to this tree guide? There's a Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, Douglas Fir and Balsam Fir to name a few!

To check out some local trees, Santa's Forest is located at 5151 Carolina Road in Suffolk. You can call (757) 986-2213 for more information.