U.S. Christmas tree shortage may drive up prices

By Sara Shayanian  |  Updated Nov. 22, 2017 at 11:07 AM
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Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A Christmas tree shortage stemming from the economic recession a decade ago may drive up the cost of trees this holiday season, industry observers said.

Declining sales in Christmas trees in 2007 led farmers to plant fewer trees, according to Doug Hundley, a spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association.

A 7- or 8-foot Christmas tree can take nearly 10 years to grow, so there are fewer mature trees this holiday season, Hundley said.

"Unfortunately it is happening at a time when the economy is good and demand is high," Hundley told ABC News. "We cannot manufacture real Christmas trees."

North Carolina and Oregon tree farms have been hit the hardest by the nationwide shortfall this year.

Price increases will vary depending on the size and type of the tree and the location where it is purchased. However, the smaller supply could raise prices by as much as 10 percent.

Making matters worse: Tree plantings have declined in recent years. U.S. farmers planted 3.7 million trees in 2015, down from 5.6 million trees in 2010.

GWD Forestry reported that the shortage in trees would "most likely continue through to 2025 at least."

Tree sellers are recommending that people to buy their trees early this year.

"We do have confidence people will be able to find a real tree, but they should shop early," Hundley told CBS Local. "I wouldn't be scared to buy one before Thanksgiving."

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