CHRISTMAS TREE PRICES are elevated this season as the supply dwindles and it becomes more difficult to find real trees.
The Christmas tree industry has faced tight tree supplies in the past as it continues to try and bounce back from the Great Recession, when people increasingly turned to artificial trees.
Leading up to the Christmas tree shortage was an oversupply a decade ago, AP reported. Fewer trees were cut down and not as many new seedlings were planted to replace them. Additionally, hot and dry weather has made growing trees more difficult, forcing many growers to close.
Oregon produces the highest annual production of Christmas trees, followed by North Carolina and Michigan. However, the number of tree farms nationwide fell 3% from 15,494 in 2012 to 15,008 in 2017, the most recent year available, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 32.8 million real trees were purchased in 2018 for an average of $78, compared to about 27.4 million for an average of $75 in 2017.
Nearly 24 million new fake trees were bought in 2018, a 12% increase from 2017. The average price for the fake trees was $104.
In 2018, 28% of real Christmas trees were bought from a "choose and cut" farm. The same percentage were bought from a chain retailer, while 23% were purchased from a retail lot and 10% came from a nursery or garden center.