Real Christmas tree prices set to rise as extreme rain in NSW affects harvest

Even Christmas is not safe from La Nina.

Australians wanting a real Christmas tree may be disappointed as prices are set to skyrocket across NSW due to extreme rains in 2022, causing supply issues.

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Trees shorter than 182 cm are selling for as much as $200, a nearly 40 percent increase from last year.

Sydney was hit by La Nina for the third consecutive season in 2022, recording more than 286mm of rain in the wettest October on record.

Merlino’s Christmas Trees in Sydney’s inner west say wet weather has wiped out 40 per cent of their harvest this year.

“We had way too much water, which caused a lot of root rot,” Robert Darrigo of Merlino’s Christmas Trees told AAP.

“It wasn’t a very warm year, so the trees didn’t grow as much.”

Real Christmas tree prices are set to boom in NSW this year due to the torrential rains across the state. Recognition: AAP

Therefore, trees taller than 240 cm will not be available for purchase this year, despite their popularity with customers.

The family business has been forced to withdraw wholesale customers so they can serve locals who come to the store.

But Darrigo expects they will have to close shop and turn away customers by the second week of December.

Merlino Monterey Pine Farms in Oberon and Ben Bullen in central NSW were lucky to avoid the 2020 bushfires but have been hit by drought.

Managing the farms has become even more difficult since gasoline and fertilizer prices have risen, Darrigo said.

“Life on the farm is not easy,” he says.

“There is only so much land to plant on.”

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James Brien

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