APPLE HILL, Calif. (KTXL) – Shoppers can expect to pay up to 15% more for Christmas trees this holiday, real or fake, thanks to a combination of shipping delays, weather and cost of labor.
“I think everyone’s feeling the price crunch in our economy right now,” said Randall Rapetti, owner of Rapetti Farms. “We’ve had a labor shortage and I’ve had to pay a lot more money to get these young people to work for me this year.”
“We have to try to recoup those costs somewhere. We had to raise the price a little bit for the trees,” he continued. “Probably about 15%, yeah.”
But the cost of labor isn’t the only problem Rapetti has run into.
“This spot right here, near Boa Vista in Apple Hill, was the worst smoke anywhere in the state of California,” Rapetti explained.
Rapetti told FOX40 he has a few varieties of trees at his farm, but it was his Douglas Firs that he noticed had the most effect from the Caldor Fire this past summer.
“I noticed some interior blight to some of the trees that I haven’t seen before,” Rapetti said. “Some of that could be drought, but I do think some of that was smoke too.”
The wildfires in Oregon this past summer are also to blame for a tree shortage.
“Many of the farmers up there are not selling their Nobles and Nordmanns because of the south burn back that occurred,” explained Treasurer of the California Christmas Trees Association Ted Seifert.
With all of this combined, many farmers say they had no choice but to raise the price of their trees.
“I think, if you look around, you’ll still find some great values,” Rapetti said. “Most the prices are going to be up at least a little bit.”
Farmers told FOX40 it’s too early to tell if price increases like this will be an ongoing trend for years to come.