What you need to know about the Christmas tree shortage

Posted at 3:37 PM, Dec 04, 2017

MORROW, Ohio — If you've been reading reports about a nationwide Christmas tree shortage, don't panic. You'll still be able to grab a festive fir in time for your family holiday.

You just might be expected to pay more and show up earlier for the privilege.

"We're not going to be short — everybody looking for a real tree will be able to get one," Doug Hundley, a spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, told the New York Times. "But it is a tight market, and prices will rise."

Why? Blame the Great Recession. In 2008, when festive feeling was underscored by financial anxiety and businesses of all types were working to save money, many tree farms cut back on sapling purchases and planting. This year, that smaller crop is the one at adult harvesting size. 

According to Bryan Keeton, who owns Big Tree Plantation in Morrow, Ohio, root disease has also affected the appearance of some recent crops, further reducing the supply of picture-perfect adult trees.

"We lost nearly 15,000 trees," he said. "So the trees that didn't die, the damage was obvious and significant."'

Keeton doesn't anticipate large price increases, but said customers looking for trees over eight feet tall could expect a price hike and lesser availability.

"The supply and the demand is such that I think we'll go from $60 to $65 in some cases, but I don't think it's going to be prohibitive," he said.