Christmas tree shortage may lead to higher prices

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United States - Americans getting ready to pick out the perfect Christmas tree may want to bring a little extra cash with them this year. A shortage of local trees in several U.S. states is likely to make prices rise and the window to find a good tree much smaller.

According to reports, tree farms in North Carolina and Oregon have been hit the hardest by the nationwide shortfall this year. The smaller supply is expected to hike prices by as much as 10 percent during the holiday rush.

“There is a touch of an undersupply,” National Christmas Tree Association spokesman Doug Hundley told Newsweek. “If you’re a last-minute shopper, your particular retailer may sell out a week early this year, depending on where you’re shopping.”

A July report from GWD Forestry predicted that recent droughts and wildfires in those two states may keep the tree shortage going until 2025. The study noted that the number of Christmas trees being planted across the country has also dropped dramatically; falling from 5.6 million in 2010 to 3.7 million in 2015.

So when should you start shopping for a Christmas tree? Exporters and tree sellers are recommending people beat the Christmas rush this year and buy early.

Doug Hundley suggests Christmas shoppers buy their tree between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1 to get the best selection and avoid a last-minute price hike. “We do have confidence people will be able to find a real tree, but they should shop early. I wouldn’t be scared to buy one before Thanksgiving,” the spokesman added.