Supermarkets, furniture stores and car lots have all seen supply shortages in recent months. It appeared inevitable that there would be a Christmas tree shortage, too.
The tree crop this season is smaller than usual at Big Tree Plantation in Ohio, and at many other Christmas tree farms around the country, especially in western states.
Owner Brian Keeton says hot summers, drought and flooding in recent years have stunted their rows of fir trees.
"We're a little thin. We have fewer than what we would like," he said.
Keeton also brings in pre-cut live trees from Oregon, Michigan and Wisconsin, but says the same trucking issues hitting grocery stores are cutting into those supplies too.
"With the pre-cut trees, there is a national shortage," Keeton said. "So there is a fewer quantity of trees, with higher demand, and then the shipping issues are complicating it a little more."
On top of it all, Business Insider says Oregon, the top tree-producing state, had its crop decimated this year by fires and drought.
Higher prices with cut-your-own, pre-cut, even artificial trees
Tree farmers say it doesn't matter if customers are looking for a pre-cut tree or want to cut their own tree. Prices are probably going to be higher.
"So they have been definitely been going up the past three years, and this year is higher than ever before," Keeton said.
He says the days of $25 live trees are gone; expect to pay $50 or more for a nice 6-foot tree and close to $100 in more expensive metro areas.
Sure, artificial trees are an option. But Balsam Hill, a top seller, told CNN that prices are up 20% this year. In addition, supplies are thin, too, due to bottlenecks at California shipping ports.
Keeton advises people not to wait to find the "perfect" live tree. He says even if it looks like Charlie Brown's tree, decorating will hide most imperfections.
"You can put some larger ornaments in there," he said. "I haven't seen an ugly decorated tree yet."
As always, don't waste your money.
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