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Tree shortages have hit the country’s top Christmas tree producers, Oregon and North Carolina. Officials say those celebrating Christmas should expect tree prices to spike by at least 10% this year, according to the Daily Mail.
Apparently, too many trees were planted in the early 2000s, during an economic boom, leading to an oversupply once they had all matured during the recession. Too many trees coupled with a lack of consumers made the price decrease and forced several large farmers out of the business.
Now, farmers lack the amount of mature trees they need for this upcoming holiday season; causing prices to skyrocket. One primary seller expects to sell fir trees for $75 each, up from $69 last year, to cover costs.
The Oregonian also notes that the large amount of trees being shipped abroad and coast-to-coast have also affected this year’s price hike.
Now the remaining farmers can’t keep up with the demand, and they might not catch up for years. It can take almost nine years before some trees are ready to be cut and sold for the Christmas season.
"Our biggest challenges are having enough trees to supply customers and just getting phone calls after phone calls after phone calls of people desperate for trees that don't exist,” Jason Hupp told the Oregonian, who helps manage Hupp Farms near Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.
This shortage and price hike are behind growers’ concerns that customers will turn to artificial trees. Artificial trees accounted for nearly 81 million of Christmas trees displayed in the U.S. last year, while nearly 19 million were real, according to estimates from the nonprofit American Christmas Tree Association.
Growers are not expecting a normal harvest for the trees until at least 2021 or 2025.