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Christmas tree supply shortage looms

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Seeing Green: The wide number of Christmas trees that are typically available at Sousa’s Gardens. For the first time in more than 20 years, none will be available from the company. (File photograph)

Christmas trees are likely to be harder to find this year as a number of regular suppliers are not importing the seasonal fixture.

Sousa’s Gardens and Landscape Management is among the importers who have decided against bringing in trees.

Jeff Sousa, owner of Sousa’s Gardens and Landscape Management company, said that for the first time in 20 years, the business is unable to offer trees in time for the holiday due to the “lack of a supplier.”

He said: “This revelation saddens the entire Sousa’s team. Since 2001, we have never missed a year and eventually became the number one supplier in the country.”

Mr Sousa added there is a worldwide tree shortage, which he attributed to fewer being planted during the 2008 global financial crisis.

The company is making every effort possible to ensure that Bermudians have high-end trees next Christmas.

Lindo’s experienced a similar problem and will not be bringing Christmas trees in this year either.

A spokesman for Lindo’s said: “Our supplier had retired and we did not wish to look for a new one right now.

“Also, government is going to inspect all the trees that are coming into the island on the container, as opposed to on-site, so we decided not to bring any in this year.”

A government spokesman confirmed that inspectors have not travelled overseas to conduct off-island inspections in the last two years.

Gorham’s could also not find an adequate tree provider for this year. A spokesman said that its usual supplier had suddenly “dropped the ball” on the store. The spokesman did not wish to name the supplier.

Philip Lawrence, from Soares Grocery, said the company will not have trees this year. He cited complications with getting the desired quantity and quality of trees as reasons why.

Customers may be able to purchase trees from the MarketPlace’s Heron Bay and Shelly Bay locations. They are expected to arrive on island around November 22.

Fraser fir trees sold at Aberfeldy Nurseries (file photograph)

Aberfeldy Nurseries also plans to offer trees to patrons this year. According to general manager Julie Greaves, they are also scheduled to arrive around November 22.

She said: “That is when they will hopefully arrive, but I am not sure when the trees will officially be out for sale.”

People can pre-order their trees from the nursery now, by e-mailing info@aberfeldy.bm or visiting the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Aberfeldy expects to sell three sizes of Fraser Fir trees this year; 5ft to 6ft, 6ft to 7ft and 7ft to 8ft.

All trees coming into the island must pass the environmental inspection before being sold.

A Government spokesman told The Royal Gazette that prior to the pandemic, environmental officers travelled overseas to inspect the trees for pests and diseases before shipping them to the island.

The spokesman said: “This travel has been put on hold for the past two years. As such, officers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources diligently inspect all Christmas trees upon arrival in Bermuda.

“These inspections ensure that the imported trees do not introduce plant pests or diseases that could be detrimental to Bermuda.

“During this process, if a tree or trees is found infested, the decision to incinerate depends on the pest involved and the level of infestation.

“If a pest or disease in found on one branch of a tree, the branch is pruned out and the importer receives the tree.

“However, an entire tree infested with a pine needle scale constitutes a heavy infestation and the whole tree is confiscated or incinerated.”

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Published November 14, 2022 at 5:41 pm (Updated November 14, 2022 at 8:07 pm)

Christmas tree supply shortage looms

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