Christmas trees could be in short supply this winter

PORTLAND, Ore. – Halloween is still a few days away but you may want to start thinking about Christmas. However, this year a perfect storm of circumstances has created a Christmas tree shortage.

KGW reports farm-raised trees could be hard to come by, and the ones you do find may be expensive.

Craig Lee’s family has been selling Christmas trees in Oregon for more than 40 years. He knows just how long it takes to grow a good crop.

“Price gets good, everybody plants trees,” he said. That’s what happened a decade ago when everyone was planting trees and hoping to get in on the boom.

The glut of trees forced prices to drop. “At one point we were selling trees for less than they cost to grow,” said Lee.

Once the market dropped, farmers reacted. Some reduced their planting, others got out of the business altogether. The recession didn’t help, either.

It was sort of a double-whammy and hit a lot of farms hard. Now that those seedlings planted all those years ago have matured, the industry is starting to feel the effects of the bail out.

“Right now, there’s a shortage of Christmas trees,” said Lee. “So now, the price is way up on them. The wholesale price, especially.”

At the same time, Oregon-grown Christmas trees are popular in other markets like California and Mexico–meaning the already low stock is about to be thinned out even more.

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