Lash the Christmas tree to the roof, stash the garland in the trunk, and get your Christmas greens as fast as you can.
“The demand is insatiable,” says Jeff Olsen owner of Brookdale Treeland Nurseries, the largest supplier of holiday greenery in Canada.
“Sales are up 50 percent over last year,” we can’t keep up.”
Headquartered in Schomberg Ontario, Brookdale Treeland ships to 5,000 stores across Canada and the US.
Their wreaths, garlands, pre-made urns, and evergreen bundles are sold to independent garden centres, and the big chains including Home Depot, Loblaws, and Costco.
With health officials advising us to stay home to slow the spread of Covid, holiday decorating is fulfilling a need and fuelling demand.
“It’s understandable people want their homes to look beautiful, they want to embrace the nesting instinct, and more people want to create their own arrangements,” Olsen says.
About 25 percent of Brookdale Treeland greens come from their own fields in Canada, but they also source White pine and Fraser Fir from North Carolina and Noble fir and western red cedar from Washington state.
Along with evergreens, Brookdale also ships endless bundles of birch logs and branches, popular in DIY arrangements.
About 30 percent of the paper birch logs come from Northern Ontario, harvested Olsen says along the north side of logging roads.
“The light is right for them to grows tall and straight,” he says.
Grey birch which has a warmer cream colour, is harvested in New Brunswick, cleared from underneath hydro lines. The fast growing species reaches maturity in about five years.
“Though they are prolific, it’s not a long lived tree,” Olsen says. “The harvesting and selling of birch is pretty much a cottage industry in New Brunswick.”
Though Brookdale has 10 facilities where wreaths, garlands and urns are pre-made for shipping to stores, demand for product cannot be met due to distancing restrictions needed to keep employees safe.
It’s also a challenge to supply enough seasonal greens for the growing number of people who want to make their own arrangements.
“It’s not a hard thing to put together, in fact you really can’t fail,” Olsen says.