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holiday tree lots

I have been looking for holiday tree lots to gather some throw away cuttings to do something with and all of the tree lots that used to be are no longer!

I live in the burbs of Washington DC.

Used to be that there were any number of them up and down the main throughfares. Now, not a one, anywhere!

So, yesterday I made the trip north to a small town in a more rural county that I shop in a lot. I am thinking that is more rural and maybe more traditional in that sense and that I will surely find some there.

I found not one there either! And, there were no hand made signs directing you to them and no Boy Scouts selling anywhere in some church parking lot.

Normally on a weekend day in December you will see any number of cars going by with trees strapped to the roof. I saw exactly two! Thats all.....two! If I had of been in the right position I would have signaled to them to share where they got it from. Most likely it was Lowes or HOme Depot.

I am shocked at what a difference a couple of years makes.

The people that sold in tree lots must have to buy a large number of them at one time, and, I am thinking that maybe as the market has shifted away from real trees that the whole manner of marketing has changed and it may no longer be profitable. There were always lots of trees left on the lots.

I knew that there have been fewer and fewer tree lots, but I was not prepared for NO tree lots!

Maybe some parts of the country have a different dynamic going on.

I dont want a tree, but I have always, for many years been able to pick up the leavings and cuttings that I use to do something special with and they give them for free if you ask. After all, they are usually just getting burned in a fire or have to be carted away.

I was looking for one of those tree lots where they have the debris from the cuttings, but I found no lots at all, not one!

Another thing I noticed about being out and about on a December weekend is that there was not a crunch of holiday shopping traffic as in years past. I worked retail in teh 90s and early 00s and you had to jockey for a parking place in the parking lots. Now, the busy shoppers have all but disappeared. At least they have in my part of the world. I can only imagine that there is a lot of online shopping going on. Our local shopping mall is breathing it's last labored breath, and the only other one in this town north of me has many stores that only open on the weekend and nothing else in there opens until 11 AM, if they open at all. There are many shuttered store fronts in them and they seem barren and lonely. That leaves the strip shopping centers with the usual Walmart , Kohls, etc. all of which also offer online shopping.

I could find no tree lots last year either, but I didnt go to the next town last year to look. I am shocked that I couldnt find them there, either. How things have changed!

It may be different where you live.

Comments (31)

  • last year

    I think it's a little early still. Two of the local tree lots are not opening until next weekend.

  • last year

    I dont see the lots in the city that used to be there. Sometimes it was just a truck with trees alongside. Our firee company still sellsmtrees but their prices have always been ridiculous. I donate every year so i dont feel bad by buying elsewhere. There is another lot in a big parking lot near me. His prices are more reasonable and he has all the trees standing up so you can see them without someone else holding them up.

    My son buys his at Costco. Not exactly a charming place but cheap. Also you just grab one and you get what you get.

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  • last year

    Here in Texas there are no tree lots. You buy from a big box store or go artificial (which I refuse to do). Last year I asked the young man at Home Depot if I could buy some of the trimmings, and he said they were free, and even found a box to put them in. I make swags for the barn and pasture gates, and I had BIG swags last year!

    We'll be getting our real, scented tree this week. I love shopping for a Christmas tree!

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    You're right, sales of trees by local clubs used to be common. For most of the '90's and early 2000's we'd go to Fredericksburg (50 miles south of DC) and there would be a large temporary fence in a strip mall parking lot, trees sold by some club to benefit some charity. We left that area in 2015 and those sorts of operations had disappeared a few years before then.

    Will be interesting to see how wide-spread this phenomena is.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    Have you checked any of the box stores that sell trees yet? Like chloebud, I always get free trimmed branches at the local Home Depot.

  • last year

    I would do a search for Chrismas tree farms in your area then call to see if they have cuttings. It has been a while since I have even had a tree but I remember that some would remove the bottom branches if the customer requested before putting it in the shaking machine to remove loose needles. Often the customer's did not want the branches so they would just be piled up.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    It was a bad year for fir trees, the news says. Weather being the issue.

  • last year

    I've noticed there are fewer tree lots than before. And the ones that are open have smaller inventory than before. Sad.

  • last year

    Oh CHRISTMAS TREE O CHRISTMAS TREE!! Try the apple orchards/pumpkin patches, farmer markets on Facebook Market Place there are plenty under CHRISTMAS trees. Perhaps it's your wording.;)

  • last year

    So how widespread was the custom of civic clubs selling trees for charity? Couldn't have been restricted to the greater DC area, could it? ??? It wasn't that many years ago...

  • last year

    Here, many churches have tree lots - and pumpkin patches in the fall as well.

  • last year

    In central va I have noticed 2 of the regular locations for tree lots but I haven’t been out and about as much.

  • last year

    A number of tree lots here. My preference is to buy at an independent nursery which is exactly what I did today.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    I've been seeing more and more trees on car roofs riding down the road. There are quite a few Christmas tree growers in our area. Years ago they started selling to the public so most people who want a fresh tree just cuts their own down. If you don't feel like playing Paul Bunyan they have pre cut ones also. The growers make it festive with hay rides, photos with santa, food trucks and gift shops. They also sell wreaths, arangements and grave blankets. Basically they are cutting out the middle man. Why pay the marked up price of the middle man who's trees are weeks old when you can get a fresh cut one. Families make a fun day out of it. My local tree farm is selling white pines for $50 and anything else $85. I guess if you live in the city and don't own a car there are a few lots somewhere. But most people in the city own car(s). The one near me is 26 mile drive if you live in the city, and there is some closer so it's not like your driving far to get to one.

    We've had a artificial tree for years, but when we use to cut down a real tree there were always stumps with greens on them for the taking.

    Many years ago we went to cut down a tree for us and both sets of parents it was very cold that year. We cut down the 3 big trees and took them to get bundled up and since it was sooo cold they couldn't bundle them or the branches would snap. So instead of 3 trees sticking out of the trunk there was one on the roof extending over the windshield,, one hanging out of the trunk and one tied on top of the trunk blocking the back window. We looked like a bush driving down the highway.

  • last year

    Just bought a tree at Whole Foods and they had plenty of trimming they would have been happy to have parted with.

  • last year

    We have lots of tree farms in our area, mainly because a tree "farm" gets a tax break as a "farm" and trees are a lot easier to raise than animals. But I agree I haven't seen the convoys of cars going by with trees on top as I have in years past. Part of it may be due to prices which have shot up like crazy.

  • last year

    We went to Costco yesterday with "Wreath" on the shopping list. We've bought one there for several years. No luck. Not a single wreath. I barely lasted long enough to do the other shopping, so didn't stop to ask. Were they sold out? It takes a lot of labor to weave those branches onto metal frames; maybe it's a labor problem.

  • last year

    Annie Deighnaugh Not alone the price, but the mess of a real tree. Needles are a PIA to clean up. You still end up finding one or two hiding in July.

    I don't even want pine cuttings in my house. At camp white pine trees are everywhere. I could have as many cuttings as I wanted, no thank you.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    ChiSue, I was in Costco in the Philly area yesterday, and there were lots of wreaths. They'll get more in stock at your store, I'm sure.

  • last year

    I havnt really looked at what they might have at Home Depot as I have never associated that with holiday trees. I have driven by and not seen them, but maybe they are inside of the garden area?

    I searched tree farms and could find nothing within a reasonable distance of less than 50 miles. So, THAT is not going to happen.

    I am so surprised.

    There is one of those family fun farms near here that offer a holday package of what ever it is that they do, but they charge you a parking fee just to get into the lot.

    Hubs works part time at a local entertainment venue and for all of the time that we have lived here, they have grown and sold trees when the summer catered picnics, company parties and weddings plays out. They quit with covid and they dont do it anymore.

    I am so surprised that it has disappeared so qucikly. I saw that it was in decline, but it seems to have gone now.

    So, it is not just my part of the world.

    I have some friends who have a very large and beautiful room where they put up a very tall tree every year. In the last few years they have had to search harder and travel further to get that tree. It is something that they like to do and they have the disposable income to pay for it. Sure that if you are willing to pay enough you can get a big one.

    I'll take a second look at HD.

    All I need is some cuttings, the things that get burned or thrown away. I dont want to buy a tree to get them. Last year I just used the twined vine base of my wreath without the cuttings and I might even do something a bit creative with chiffon fabric if I cant find them.

  • last year

    “I havnt really looked at what they might have at Home Depot as I have never associated that with holiday trees.”

    Claudia, both Home Depot and Lowe’s here use part of their parking lots for the trees…outside of the garden area. They’ve done it for years. It might be worth checking out for some cuttings. I went to Home Depot yesterday and wandered over to their tree lot. Couldn’t resist grabbing a few more cuttings. I like to keep some extras outside in buckets of water.

  • last year

    Thanks, sushipup. I think I'll see what our local grocery may have. I really loved the great BIG wreaths from Costco though. (We have a wide front door, so a 'normal' wreath gets lost on it.)

  • last year

    I did get over to Home Depot yesterday and found that they have trees in the inside fenced in garden area, but not out in the parking lot. The guy said that they expect to have bin a full of cuttings this weekend. So, maybe.

    It does seem that the only entities selling trees are the big box stores and the rare tree farm.

    I wont give prime floor space to a tree, but I have enjoyed my very large wreath that hangs between the dining and living room. You see if from both sides, obviously. When filled out with real greenery, it is about 30" diameter.

    I dont care much for the holidays in any traditional manner, but I do enjoy the light in the dark of winter.

    All of my holiday decorations just reflect either humor or art or whimsey.

    It has no religious significance for me.

    I celebrate the light and the coming new year and the magic of that time when the pauper becomes king and the king becomes pauper that follows in the new year with Mardi Gras and all the significance of renewing.

  • last year

    I came to a conclusion yesterday as i looked at the few cuttings that I did find to bring home.

    What I used to do is to bring home a lot of it because most was of no real use. I ended up maybe using about a third of the pile.

    It was always a big mess to weave the cuttings into the base of the wreath and secure them with some nylon string that I have had for decades. Then, on go the strings of lights and ornaments. I would work to get all nicely distributed around the big wreath.

    The wreath base is made of twined and very strong vines of some nature. I really dont know what it is, exactly.

    It is big, thick and sturdy. It is decades old and still going strong.

    Then, I have a thinner and smaller one that I twined myself from wild grape vines in Texas.

    What I did last year is that I mounted the smaller one inside of the larger one, added lights and some glittery wire stuff and decorated it all together.

    I think that I am not going to bother with working all of those branches into it.

    I am going to celebrate the minimalism of it and let it be as is.

    Both of the pieces are just natural and still look fine, even good.

    I looked at the trimmings and decided that it is just too messy and the ones that I did find from Home Depot seem to have been sprayed with some manner of something that I find to be off putting. Plus they are dropping needles all over, all ready.

    I am going to take a fresh assessment of it all and not do all that with those messy tree pieces anymore.

    Maybe I can find some nice greenery such as holly or magnolia branches or some such, just to add a bit of greenery. Heck I might even do some artificial greenery.

    The twined vines are already a natural element and they are going to be fine.

    Just a simple, yet elegant statement is all I want. I will roll that way for the rest of my time.

    Somehow it just felt as if I was covering these simple vines in junky stuff.

    Those cut trees remind me of the vegetables at Costco. I call them "zombie" vegetables. They are so treated to stay "fresh" that many of them dont even rot in the fridge in a natural manner. They dont even know they are dead. That is what the trees at HD remind me of.....zombie trees.

    I dont want that.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    Many trees for sale on lots have been a "tree only" purchase from the tree farms. Some of the tree farms have branched out ( see my pun there? ) into making wreaths and swags with the loose branches and can sell that at a higher dollar amount. Other folks have a small business in their homes making wreaths and such for sale. These cottage industries began growing during the pandemic

  • last year

    Evidently I'm too late. Local grocery also had no wreaths, and I know they had them earlier. Oh well...Dec. 10 is late to decorate when I'd be removing it so soon. If I see something, fine. If not, also fine. We have our table top trees indoors.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    I like to make sprays for the door - simpler and faster than a wreath and every bit as festive.

    This one's from 2020 - it's a bit wonky, but you get the idea:

  • last year

    Carol I like your simple statement . I always liked my wreath too. I am not one for holiday doo dads .

  • last year

    Carol, I like your swag! We put swags on our gates and another outside between the living room windows. We have electric candles in each window, and turn them on at sundown.

    If anyone passing enjoys seeing our decorations, we are happy. Christmas is a festive time, and with our decorated tree, swags, candles, and 36 Nativitys, we feel very festive!

  • last year

    Carol, your swag is really nice! I love the red berries. I make them from the cuttings I get at tree lots, but mine are very simple with just a bow. They go on our mailbox and lamp posts. I should add some red berries.

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