Annual Christmas tree fundraiser is selling premium Balsam and Fraser firs imported from Quebec this year.

Christmas tree shortage in province

Invasive insects, lack of seedlings and the failing loonie are causing local growers to turn to Easter Canada for trees.

Yes Virginia, there is a shortage of Christmas trees in B.C. this year.

Invasive insects, lack of seedlings and the failing loonie are just a few reasons local tree growers are having to stretch their reach outside the province.

Ripples in the system are catching up to tree growers, says Tim Loewen from Pine Meadows Tree Farms.

Loewen is a second generation grower on the family-owned and operated nursery and tree farm. Located in Chilliwack, the farm is the usual supplier of homegrown trees for the Trail Kiwanis Christmas tree sale – but not this year.

Instead the premium Balsam and Fraser firs are coming from Eastern Canada.

“Perhaps the biggest factor…is the restriction placed on us as growers in B.C. is where we can purchase our seedlings,” he says.

Loewen was referring to a 1980’s agreement that in efforts to protect provincial forests against the Balsam Woolly Adelgid (BWA), B.C. tree growers have to source true firs within the province.

BWAs are small wingless insect from Europe, that infests and kill firs, especially Balsam fir and Fraser fir.

“I agree it is a good idea to protect our forests, however, this restriction was perhaps not implemented with all factors considered,” he said.

“There have been various changes and closings of seedling nurseries in our province and this has greatly disrupted the availability of seedlings, especially to the Christmas tree market,” Loewen added.

“We are a very small percentage compared to reforestation programs therefore they get the trees first.”

Neighbours to the south are also experiencing a tree shortfall, which affects the seasonal Canadian business.

“We have never had enough trees to supply our own market, but it didn’t matter because they came from our other local areas that happen to be in the USA, ” he continued.

With West Coast American trees running in short supply, and the weakened Canadian dollar, the cost to import trees is too high for most customers, says Loewen.

Drought is another impact that down the road, could affect growing trees and limit Christmas tannebaums.

“Most of the damage we suffered (this summer) was on small trees that were just planted this spring,” said Loewen.

“That may surface in four to five years in another shortage locally.”

But all is not lost for Trail Kiwanis annual Christmas tree fundraiser because Loewen and the club’s compromise works for everyone, including people who still like to decorate the real deal.

“The past number of years they (Kiwanis) have bought their trees from our farm directly,” Loewen explained. “This year they still purchased the trees from our farm but we sourced from Quebec,” he added.

“They were brought from Quebec because there was a great desire to maintain Canadian product in that market. We respect that we found a solution that worked.”

Just Posted

Pedestrian killed on Highway 22 Saturday evening

Police say 51-year-old man died after being hit by car

UPDATE: DriveBC says highway re-opened after accident

Highway 22 closed for seven hours on Saturday

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom (updated)

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Most Read