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Christmas trees more costly this year for Tucsonans and tree lots

Supply chain and extreme weather causing shortages
Buckelew Farm's Christmas tree lots had a busier-than-average opening day on Friday.
Posted at 9:14 PM, Nov 27, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Thanksgiving has come and gone and the rush for Christmas trees is already here. But tree lots in Tucson are facing new challenges this year.

Buckelew Farm runs 11 Christmas tree lots across the Tucson area, but owner Clint Buckelew says he closed two other lots this season to account for fewer trees coming in.

Black Friday was opening day for those tree lots, and many families are buying early this year.

“We doubled the normal average for every year [on opening day],” said Jaxon Blondeaux, manager of the Buckelew tree lot at Ina Road and La Cholla Boulevard. “People were getting a little scared maybe that we might sell out sooner than later.”

While the Buckelew lots still have thousands of trees ready to sell, there have been challenges this year getting Christmas trees to Tucson.

Many, like those that go to the Buckelew lots, come from farmers in Oregon, which saw a record-breaking heat wave this summer where temperatures soared to 115 degrees. Wildfires also raged throughout the state.

“Burned over 30 percent of the crops, making it harder for some people to get their trees,” said Blondeaux. “We were fortunate that our farmers didn’t get hit quite as hard, made it easier for us to get our trees. We’ve been partnering with the same farms for years, so it worked out in our favor.”

Even the trees that survived the extreme weather were not immune to this year’s supply chain challenges.

“It almost doubled our price just in shipping,” Blondeaux explained. “And just finding that trucking and working it out in the right time period and all that kind of stuff is a little bit harder this year than it has been.”

Buckelew says his family ate some of that additional cost. But some of it is being felt by customers, who are paying $5-10 more for trees this season.

Demand is still seemingly high, however. Blondeaux estimated that all of the Buckelew lots combine to sell about 10,000 Christmas trees during an average holiday season.

Even with the higher price tag, customer Sandy Reyes and his family wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Became a tradition because you know, the fake trees, you don’t have that nice smell of pine in the house,” Reyes said. “So having a real tree, that’s what makes the difference.”

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