Costly Christmas: Tree shortage raises prices

Home for the Holidays

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) – If you thought it was tough last year to find an affordable Christmas tree, get ready to do some work this season.

Christmas tree prices are going up as supply is going way down.

In fact, some longtime Christmas tree farms in Oregon have shut down because of a lack of trees.

For the first time, Kirchem Farm will not be selling Christmas trees at all this year.

The farm is facing a tree shortage like it’s never experienced before.

It does not have enough trees over five feet to sell.

It’s the result of a shortage of seedlings eight to 10 years ago and the dry, hot summers of 2017 and 2018, which destroyed thousands of younger trees.

“We’ve had families that have brought their kids back here for their whole life. The kids have grown up coming here,” says farm owner Cher Tollefson.

And Oregon is not alone.

“Across the country, we’re in the same boat, North Carolina is the second-biggest producer and they’re having a bit of a shortage as well,” says Oregon State University tree expert Chal Landgren.

In addition to struggling with drought, Christmas tree growers are facing a labor shortage, so many are moving to less labor-intensive crops like hazelnuts and grass seed.

Landgren expects sellers won’t hesitate to raise prices. As a result, those who want to find a u-cut Christmas tree this season will have to shop around, make some calls and perhaps seek out new farms.

And they should be prepared to pay more. In some cases that could be $20 more per tree.

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