Caddo Parish tree farm is busy easy this holiday season

Caddo Parish tree farm is busy easy this holiday season

One of the biggest debates during the holiday season is what is better, a real or artificial Christmas tree.

This year there is a shortage across the country of one of the most popular types, the frasier fir.

Mark Weaver, who is the owner of Weaver's Christmas Tree Farm, thinks the shortage stems from commercial farmers planting and selling their trees all at the same time.

"[Commercial farmers] plant their entire area that is available at once and it results in a glut for two or three or four years, then all of a sudden there is a shortage  for two or three or four years," he said.

Even though Weaver does not grow frasier fir trees, he does import them from North Carolina and has seen an increase in price.

"[The frasier fir] is probably the nation's most popular tree. these really smell like Christmas." said Weaver.

Weaver predominately grows two varieties of Leyland Cypress and sells between 500 and 600 trees a year.

So far this year, he has sold almost 500 trees.

To make sure there is never a shortage at his farm, Weaver plans things out several years in advance.

"We have to plan five years in advance. I'm planting within the next couple of weeks what I am going to sell when I am 65... I'm 61 right now," said Weaver.

Even though it happened two years ago, Weaver says the 2015 flood has had a big year on this year's crop.

This year's his trees are not as tall as usually. The average height is just over 6 feet, which is about 2 feet below average.

"The ground got completely saturated and wouldn't run off. The ponds were full. The lakes were full. It affected me out there," said Weaver. "The trees want a well drained sandy soil. The ground just stayed wet. The roots were water logged and you could see them turn yellow and once they turn yellow their gone."

Overall, people have been spending more on their Christmas trees over the last couple of years.

According to annual consumer polls conducted by Nielsen for the National Christmas Tree Association, an average customer spent $74.70 on real trees last year. That number is up from $50.82 in 2015 and $39.50 in 2014.

Some customers could have purchased larger or more than one tree. In 2011, the average customer only spent $34.87 on real trees, which is the lowest since 2008.

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