Long Island Christmas tree farm won't open this year amid national shortage

Chanteé Lans Image
Thursday, November 9, 2023
Long Island Christmas tree farm won't open this year amid shortage
Chantee Lans has more from the Christmas trree farm in Mattituck.

MATTITUCK, New York (WABC) -- For the first time in almost 30 years, a Christmas tree farm on Long Island will not be selling Christmas trees this holiday season.

The owners say they are devastated -- and they are just one of many farms across the country dealing with a tree shortage.

Experts say there is a number of factors limiting tree supplies, including drought and the the smoke from Canadian wildfires earlier this year.

Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm in Mattituck has been in service for 29 years and for the first time, there will be no customers.

A canceled shipment of trees amid the nationwide shortage means the farm will be out of the most popular Fraser Christmas trees.

"Normally next week, our first trailer load of trees come in, these bins would be full with trees, various sizes," Joe Shipman, the farm's owner said. "There are no trees here. We normally fill these bins up three times during the Christmas season."

Without his usual shipment, Shipman is out 2,400 trees this year. Each tree, depending on its height, costs $80 to $90 each.

Shipman says he has approximately 2,400 Douglas Fir trees in his fields, but he says that is not enough to meet the usual customer demand.

"Rather than opening the farm, just partial, and having people disappointed they can't get what they really wanted, we decided to close the farm for the year, try to revamp, try to source the trees for next year, give our fields one more year to grow," Shipman said.

And it's not just about the sale of the trees -- Shipman says other businesses and their workers are negatively impacted too.

The closure of Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm means nearly 45 people will be without jobs between the vendors and farm staff.

Although sales are down this year, Shipman has faith.

"Hopefully, the volume of people will return," he said. "We're getting positive response on the internet that the people will return. They feel bad for us. They will be back."

Shipman said he is going to try to make next year the best year they ever had.

And for those who plan to buy a tree this year, be warned they might be more expensive.

Even though input costs, like fertilizer and labor, have gone up year after year, for nearly all wholesale growers, for many the costs have gone up less than they did last year.

RELATED | 80-foot Norway spruce chosen as 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

The 2023 Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center comes from the Binghamton area.


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