Q: Is there a Christmas tree shortage?
A: While the number, variety, and size of real Christmas trees may vary retailer by retailer this season, trees will still be available across the country.
According to multiple growers in major production regions of the country, even though supply has been tightened by a variety of factors, including bad weather and supply chain issues, warnings of mass shortages are unwarranted.
Despite some media reports to the contrary, the industry did not run out of trees in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020.
Q: Should I worry about COVID-19 and Christmas trees?
A: The CDC’s guidelines for safely celebrating Christmas and other holidays make no mention of real Christmas trees or any reason to be concerned they can transmit COVID-19.
Sources such as the State of New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub and the American Floral Endowment state that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can infect a plant. Both make the point that plant cells differ from animal cells. Animals have cell membranes, which the COVID-19 particle can penetrate. Plant cells have very tough cell walls, which it cannot.
Q: Should I be concerned about bugs in the Christmas tree?
A: According to Rick Bates, PhD, Professor of Horticulture at Penn State Univeristy, it is a “relatively rare event” that an insect will make its way into your home on a Christmas tree.
If that rare event does happen, both Dr. Bates and Dr. Jill Sidebottom, an extension specialist with North Carolina State’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, agree that any potential insects would be harmless. As Dr. Sidebottom explains, “Insects that might be found on Christmas trees are not harmful and don’t spread disease.”
Q: Do Christmas trees pose a fire hazard?
A: No real Christmas tree has ever started a fire. The risk of fire during the holidays comes from such things as overloaded electrical circuits or placing heat-generating sources too close to other objects. Anything that is dry and flammable – including such things as newspaper, gift-wrap, clothing, paper shopping bags, curtains, and tablecloths – can become a fire hazard if not properly managed.
Q: Should I be concerned about Spotted Lanternflies on my Christmas tree?
A: The spotted lanternfly is a sap-feeding insect native to Asia that feeds on more than 65 plant species and is projected to become a serious pest of specialty crops including grapes, tree fruit, ornamentals, and hardwoods.
The spotted lanternfly is not a threat to Christmas trees, humans, animals or homes.
The spotted lanternfly was initially detected in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014 and has since spread throughout 26 counties in Pennsylvania. More recently, the spotted lanternfly has also been found in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
To slow or stop the spread, several of the above-mentioned states have imposed quarantines regulating the movement of plants, plant-based materials and outdoor household items out of the quarantine area.
For specific details on the quarantine areas within these states, please visit: www.stopSLF.org