We’ve been hearing for weeks about trucks being tight because of Christmas trees shipments and decided to do a little research. And we’ve found some fascinating info, to say the least.
First, according to USDA stats posted on Instagram recently, there are close to 350 million Christmas trees currently growing in the United States, roughly matching our country’s population reported on https://www.census.gov/popclock/. That in itself is pretty mind-boggling.
But digging a bit further at https://www.statista.com/statistics/209249/purchase-figures-for-real-and-fake-christmas-trees-in-the-us/, we found a timeline “of the purchase figures of real and fake Christmas trees in the United States from 2004 to 2017.” Sales figures from the National Christmas Tree Association “show that throughout the years, Americans have preferred to put their presents under a real Christmas tree – in 2017, for example, they purchased 27.4 million real Christmas trees, while only 21.1 million fake trees were purchased.”
Christmas trees are grown across the nation – farms are well-established in the South, the Great Lakes States, the Rocky Mountain region and the Pacific Northwest. Anywhere an evergreen will grow, enterprising tree farmers are tending their forests and taking care of the annual demand in the United States and also in some foreign markets for the tradition of a green tree for the holidays. (An aside: some of the oldest trees in the world, Bristlecone Pines, can be found in a California forest and date back 4,000-5,000 years. And no, they are not harvested.)
There’s export info available at https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/NurseryChristmasTree/XmasNews.pdf.
Now, here’s the truck factor: Loaded weight for 18-wheelers varies with max of 80,000 pounds. An average 6-foot Christmas tree weighs 31 pounds 6 ounces – at least according to https://www.cockeyed.com/science/weight/christmas-tree.html.
So, say a semi is loaded with 40,000 pounds of trees. That translates to 1,250 (give or take) trees per load. And if we figure there has again been 27.4 million trees on the move this year and we divide the number of trees by the number of pounds per load, we come up with slightly fewer than 22,000 loads shipped.
But that could be the eggnog talking.