Where have all the Xmas tree lots gone?

A few years back my SO bought a fake tree for Christmas. That sucker is HUGE! Anyway this year because we are doing some remodeling we decided to go with a small real tree.
Anyway the last time I bought a tree it seemed like every supermarket had a tree lot in their parking lot, many gas stations did, a whole bunch of vacent lots, and palces like Target did also.
Anyway the SO and I are driving around on Saturday and we hunted and hunted for a tree lot. We found 1. Last night we went to a nursery where they used to have a huge selection from 3-12’. All they had were a few 5-6’ doug firs. That’s it. (yes I know it late in the season, but lots used to have trees all the way to the 24th)
Anyway I finally found a nursery that had some Noble firs and we bought one. Over all I would estimate there there is about 75% less Christmas tree lots now then 5 years ago.
So my questions are: What happened to all the Christmas tree lots? Are they MIA all over or just here in LA? Do fake tree now have that much of the market?

There’s one not three blocks from my house, chock full of trees and wreaths, smelling wonderful.

I think a lot of the free-lance lots are being squeezed by places like Target that offer trees at the same location where you do all your other shopping. Also, it seems to me that this year things are starting to fold up earlier than last. My son wanted to look for some decorations, so we stopped by the local Party City and I was startled to see that the shelves had been pretty much cleared (this was last weekend.) Still, I can think of three or 4 places where they have trees fairly close to where I am. This is in San Diego.

Most churches have them. If you have a farmer’s market in your area they may have some. I got mine at the local farmer’s market and it’s the least I’ve ever paid for a live tree ($40). It’s also the freshest - soaking up over a quart of water every day.

They’re absolutely everywhere here, but that’s no great surprise. What I don’t understand is how they stay in business. I can understand those that ship trees to places that don’t have firs or spruces and charging astronomical prices for them, but the farms that sell locally for $5-10 a tree… I just don’t see where the profits comes from, considering all the years invested in growing them.

      • Where I am there are a lot fewer tree lots this year, but no less trees. The local newspaper recently had an article on this: it’s become much more popular to cut your own tree right at the growers’ farm. The growers prefer it because they see more profit, it’s somewhat less hassle and they don’t cut trees unneccesarily.
  • Also I would add that I live within ten minutes of the central location of a large area farming operation ( http://www.eckerts.com/ ) that runs lots of “pick your own” sort of crops already. Watermelons, apples, peaches, pears, strawberries, and others–so for them to do Christmas trees also was no big deal, they already have all the equipment and organization for it in place, and not a lot else to do during that part of the (early) wintertime anyway.
    The website says that they are “the largest pick-your-own orchard operation in the United States”… (!)
    Well, um, never mind then.
    If that’s true, then it’s really a wonder that they waited this long to add Christmas trees. :expressionless:

Anecdotal evidence from the SF Bay Area, for what it’s worth:

All Christmas tree lots that I remember seeing for the last few years still seem to be in business, and are of approximately the same size, so I’d place a “No Change” flag at this point on the national map.

Pretty boring anecdote, but there you have it. YMMV.

One of my relatives used to sell large quantities of Christmas trees from his farm. He owned the land and turned part of it into a pine forest many years ago, using seedlings that were subsidized by a government soil conservation program. I don’t recall that the trees needed any maintenance. Whenever fence posts were needed, we just cut down some trees. Most of the trees were far too large for Christmas trees. The only problem that I am aware of was once when he lost a bunch of the smaller trees to a summer drought.

We noticed the same decrease this year. It used to be that our Kroger sold Christmas trees, starting right after Halloween. This year, they had fresh wreaths, but no trees. There are a few tree stands around the area, and they aren’t hard to find if you look, but considerably fewer than in years past.

We went out on Sunday to get a tree. We wanted a fresh one, so we went to a U-Cut nursery. The selection was miserable. Most of the trees were lopsided, thin, and crooked. We found two or three that bordered on “acceptable,” but they were too small, so we returned the saw and left.

We ended up at a local produce stand with pre-cut trees. There were several good ones, and it took us a while to choose one just because there was so much choice. However, they were all larger trees–nothing in the 3-4 foot range.

Obviously, there are huge differences from city to city. In some places, tree lots are undoubtedly still thriving.

But here in Austin, and in many Southern cities, the impression I get is that a handful of megastores like Home Depot & Lowes are now dominating the tree biz, along with a handful of large seasonal operations.

We had a dickens of a time trying to find a tree this year.

We live in Southern NH. Plenty of space, but you have to drive 10 minutes to any resemblence of “society.” Granted, we went out following a snowstorm that ended at 3pm that day. But it was the first friday of December.

We drove past open parking lots, closed businesses, and roadside farmstands. All covered in snow, but more importantly, no tree operation in site!!!

The next day we drove out in the other direction, and only found on our way the couple that we expected to see.

In past years, it seemed that any space that you could park a set of trees along a public way, produced a tree lot. Not this year though.