Christmas Tree Shortage Reported Across U.S.

It takes eight years for the average sized Christmas tree to make its way to the market

People are getting ready to put up their Christmas trees, but a shortage across the U.S. could mean you won't get a tree at all if you wait until the last minute.

For Samantha Radlovic, Christmas tree shopping after Thanksgiving is family tradition. She and her family have been doing this since she was little, early birds looking for the best they can find.

"We usually go home after this, eat dinner, then decorate the tree," she said.

Steve Benveniste, of Toluca Lake Christmas Trees, says his inventory this year will be about the same. But he can't say the same for his competitors.

"A lot of lots won't even be open this year," he said. "I mean, there's gonna be a lot of people that don't even have trees."

The National Christmas Tree Association says farmers in the Pacific Northwest, will be shipping far fewer this year. The recession in 2008 drove many of them out of business or caused many to plant much fewer saplings. Since it takes eight or nine years for a tree to mature, we're seeing the effects of that now.

"I'll end up probably having to close a week earlier," Beneviste said.

The bad news is that prices may be a bit higher, thanks to demand.

Mark Rohlfs, who owns of Santa & Sons Christmas Trees in Van Nuys, told NBC4 this is the worst shortage of his 41 years in the Christmas tree business.

"We've seen this coming for the past five to six years and the severity of it coming is still surprising to us," said Rohlfs, an Oregon Christmas tree grower with a large retail tree lot at Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen.

Contact Us