High demands, rising prices at Christmas tree farms dampen cheerful spirits

High demands and rising prices across the D.C. region for both real and artificial Christmas trees are making spirits less than bright. 

High Demand and Rising Costs for Christmas Trees

FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick visited Mayne's Tree Farm in Buckeystown where the trees are going fast.

Merhl Mayne has been in the business for quite some time and told Alnwick that his inventory is going quick. "We used to sell them in four weeks – now we're down to two weeks," he said. Mayne says the farm still has Frasier and Douglas fir trees in stock.

Prices are up across the area, Mayne said, but those increases are tied to the rising costs of producing the tress. Even with a 90 percent increase in the production process, Mayne said he has only raised his prices a modest 15 percent.

"I've heard quite a few," he said when asked if customers have complained about the rise in prices. "Of course, you know people who have limited income. I mean, i understand that."

"But then you got people coming in from the D.C. area who say, 'Hey, they're cheap trees – you need to raise your prices more,'" Mayne said with a chuckle. "I'm caught! I'm caught in the middle!"

After the trees are gone, Mayne says the work begins getting ready for next season.

Real Christmas Trees vs. Fake Christmas Trees

The American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial tree makers like Balsam Hill, has seen demand peak earlier than ever this year. 

When deciding on real trees vs. fake (or more kindly called "artificial,") one should consider your home life. Real trees can be a challenge with pets or small children, and also - understanding space and travel plans - the latter of which is very important when it comes to any travel plans. 

The other factor is concerns about the environment. Live trees need water, fertilizer, and heavy equipment to cut and transport - however, while they grow they capture carbon which is a net benefit. Artificial trees are made of metal and plastic (and use chemicals in the manufacturing process) - and need to be manufactured and shipped. 

Thus on a 1 to 1 basis, the live tree has less of an impact environmentally than artificial trees but over the course of many years (up to 20), artificial trees may have a slight edge.