Pining for the firs? Christmas tree shortage looms on P.E.I.

·2 min read

A Christmas tree grower on P.E.I. is advising Islanders to get their trees early due to a shortage in the province.

Mike Kelly, who owns Kelly's Christmas Tree Farm in Fort Augustus, said the number of Christmas trees are down this year because of the drought this summer and a harmful frost in June 2018.

Kelly said he's had calls from sellers looking for more trees, but said he doesn't grow enough to supply them. He said there's been at least a 50 per cent increase in the number of people coming out to tag a tree to cut later.

He expects all his trees will be sold out by the second week in December.

"I think a lot of people do feel somewhat cooped up here over the last eight months or so, with COVID, of course," he said in an interview with Island Morning host Laura Chapin.

'Family outings'

"But I do notice that over the last few weeks and people coming out, a lot of families, and there's no question that's my biggest driving force, the different families coming out to get some family outings, I guess."

The shortage also means for the first time in decades, the Summerside Y Service Club and Summerside Lions Club are having to cut, wrap and haul dozens of Christmas trees to have enough for their annual fundraiser.

The groups raise money each year selling Christmas trees at Kool Breeze Farms.

Drive is 80 trees short

Janet-Rose Hurst, a member with Y Service Club, said normally they get between 200 and 250 trees but they've only been able to obtain a maximum of 150 from their commercial tree growers.

"The growers had a bad year growing their trees so we've seen a reduction in the amount of trees we can get from the commercial growers," she said.

"So this year we are going to have to go out and actually cut the trees ourselves."

The group found a tree lot in Stratford that has allowed them to cut about 80 trees to meet their demand.

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