Lowcountry Christmas Tree Farm has plenty of options for customers

Dorchester County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Christmas trees have been hard to come by for some people in the Lowcountry this year, but one tree farm in Berkeley County has a stock that is set to last.

Lebanon Christmas Tree Farm has both pre-cut Fraser Fir trees and other trees that you can cut down yourself.

The farm provides a happy sight for people like Carl Kokinakis from Mount Pleasant who spent two weeks looking for a tree.

“This place was the only place that we found. All of Mount Pleasant is sold out,” said Kokinakis. “We drive as far as we need to drive. This is a 50-minute drive to come up here from Mount Pleasant.”

Others like Richard Chase and his family always come to Lebanon for their tree, which they choose to cut down.

“We always cut it, that’s the tradition. They have a decent selection,” said Chase. “The kids love it.”

The farm’s owner, Julianna Velarde, says that getting shipments of pre-cut Fraser Firs was very difficult this year.

“I spent two days from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. trying to find these trees and nobody has them in the United States and Canada. I did find one guy in Vermont. He was able to sell them to me. I was stressed the entire time not being able to secure a shipment down for these Christmas trees,” said Velarde.

The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) says that the perceived shortage in trees is because farmers planted fewer seeds during The Great Recession.

“There has been a change in the supply of real trees the last five years, but we do not characterize it as a shortage because we don’t believe that any community is going without real trees to choose from or that anybody is going without a real tree if that’s what they want,” said Doug Hundley, a spokesperson for the NCTA.

Since trees take about seven to eight years to grow before being sold as a young tree, the effects of growing a smaller amount of trees is being felt now.

Hundley admitted there are fewer trees in Christmas tree lots than there were 20 years ago, but said that’s a good thing. There’s less waste as supply better matches up with demand.

Velarde had to pay more for the trees she was able to find, which means that the price she’s charging is a little higher.

“I have not even doubled the price. That’s really hard. A lot of people are saying maybe I’m a little crazy for not doubling it, but I don’t care I just want my customers to be happy,” said Velarde.

The pre-cut trees at Lebanon Christmas Tree farms cost more than the trees you can cut down yourself.

“There is a huge price difference. (The trees you can cut down) start at $14 a foot until you get up to 12 feet then it goes up from there,” said Velarde.

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