Shopping sooner rather than later for Christmas tree is recommended this year

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Every year when Calandro's Christmas Trees open their doors a longtime family tradition continues.

"64 years ago my grandfather started this. We grew up doing it. I was 14-years-old when I first went on a tree lot," said Raymond Calandro, owner of Calandro's Christmas Trees.

Selling trees is in the Calandro bloodline, but one owner said it's getting a little harder.

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The economy tanked in 2007, one of the seasonal businesses surprisingly affected were Christmas tree farmers.

"So, it's not like corn or wheat or anything you plant and harvest the same year," Calandro said. "They plant and harvest 7-9 years down the road."

Calandro said some growers were forced out of the business while others cut back on the number of trees planted because the rising cost of diesel made shipping trees more expensive.

"From seed to sapling, it's about 2 to 3 years and you've got another 5-7 years in the field. So, it takes a long time to do what we do."

Fast forward to 2017 with not as many Christmas trees fully grown and the demand staying constant. The cost per tree is rising. This year Calandro's price increased by $5.

"You can only plant so many trees," Calandro said. "So what's happened is, over the 7 or 8 years that these trees need to mature, there's less and less of them and more and more demand."

Calandro said trees average a foot of growth per year, at that rate he estimates it will take maybe five years for the growers to catch up. In the meantime, he said, if you want the perfect tree, it might be best to start hunting a little earlier this year.

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