Boonville Christmas tree farm thrives despite predicted shortage

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BOONVILLE - Several generations come each year to get a Christmas tree at Starr Pines Farm.

The farm provides a wagon ride to the field for the family to find and cut their tree, and then it is back to the barn to shake and bale their tree.

Visitor Mindy Kaly said her family is getting into Christmas tree when on the farm.

"They have a real family touch, you get a nice selection of trees," she said. "We have the best experience for our family when we come here."

Kaly said she has been buying the live Christmas trees for the past several years.

"Last year we got a pine, this year we've chosen a fur," she said.

Visitor Isaiah Blood said it was the first time he decided to get a Christmas tree.

"It's fun to find your own tree and cut it down," he said.

Mindy's husband, Justin Kaly, said he liked cutting the tree himself the most.

"We get home, take a tree stand and decorate it," Mindy said.

While many people begin to put up their decorations, experts predict a nationwide Christmas tree shortage.

It can take up to 10 years for a Christmas tree to grow: which means we are still seeing the impact of the 2008 recession, which drove many growers out of business.

The Federal Census of Agriculture also predicted Christmas tree prices to go up as supply goes down.

Owner of Starr Pines Christmas Tree Farm, Wayne Harmon, said there is no need to worry.  

"There really isn't a shortage. It's more of a tight supply," he said.

Harmon said a number of factors could contribute to a smaller number of Christmas trees this year.

"The weather and a number of locations has made the availability at certain farms less," he said. "There have been fewer grown."

Harmon said with fewer Christmas trees around, he anticipated a really good season.

"We're down to just a few of is that have trees available," he said. "This season will probably break our records for last year."

Harmon said some of the farms back in 2012 and 2011 had droughts and now we're into those years where they had fewer trees.

"The supply is tight there, and you just may have to search a little more to find the perfect tree," he said.

Harmon said they have over 32,000 Christmas trees on the farm.

"Every year we plant 4,500 to 5,000 new trees," he said. "So when you come in, you'll see little ones all the way up to big ones."

Harmon said the nationwide shortage has not affected their prices.

"The prices are the same they were last year, but some places may have a different price due to that," he said.

Harmon said he tried to offer real Christmas experience.

"Customers get to come out and choose a tree they like, and it's an on-farm experience," he said. "Get back to the farm."

Starr Pines Christmas Tree Farm south of Boonville has been selling Christmas Trees since 1986.

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