Christmas tree growers feeling trucking pinch
The supply of Christmas trees hasn’t been the only challenge for growers this season.
Paul Armintrout is the manager of Armintrout’s West Michigan Farms Inc. which is a wholesale supplier of landscaping trees and Christmas material. The third-generation family business ships across the Great Lakes region but says a shortage of parts, equipment, labor, and supply chain backlogs have been difficult this season.
“Trucking has really been getting expensive,” he says. “Our product just takes up so much volume per truck, so the increasing freight costs are really hurting us on the bottom-line and for the customers too.”
Michigan is the nation’s third-largest producer of Christmas trees and largest in the Midwest which Armintrout says is because of the protection the Great Lakes provide.
“The Great Lakes gives us insulating snowfall in the wintertime which helps protect those smaller trees and also the ground doesn’t freeze as deep and harshly to hurt roots, that’s especially important for new trees that haven’t been established,” he explains.
The farm specializes in selling potted Christmas trees, wreaths, and boughs.
Armintrout says there’s no shortage of demand despite shortages seen on the farm from reduced plantings in the last decade. Today, the farm plants about 50,000 new Christmas trees a year.