At least here there was also a major rotation fail. Managing a crop that takes this long is weird. You rotate by the field by also by the row. Only havesting at most 1/3 of a field in a given year, and planting less than you cut to allow some portion of trees the room to get real big. Like 10+ feet.
Through the 90’s we saw this huge spike in farm tourism. Apple picking, local seasonal specialty produce, and Christmas trees and what have in the winter.
Most places initially over harvested, pulled too many trees in a given year. That pushed prices up, and created shortages. And created an opportunity for imported trees and Home Depot to enter the market. Turns out buying the tree near a farm was more important than buying a tree grown on that farm.
So then most places over planted. Crammed the trees in too tight. Which leads to stunted, gnarled trees. And just as the ecconomy hit the skids you had a bunch of farms who’d been spending money they didn’t have. To grow trees they ended up not being able to sell. At exactly the moment where tourism died off and locals couldn’t afford to pay 2x what a tree is worth just because it’s local.
Lot of people pulled out of the business.