Oregon Christmas tree shortage: Number of trees go down, prices go up

(File/SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. -- You might be paying more for a Christmas tree this yea and the pickings could be a little slim.

There's a Christmas tree shortage across the country and it starts here in Oregon.

We visited a tree farm in Lane County to see how they're dealing with the shortage.

At Northern Lights Tree Farm Bob and Lynn Schutte have been in the business of holiday cheer for more than 20 years and they know their stuff.

The Department of Agriculture says the reason for the shortage is more economic than environmental. Oregon had an oversupply of trees a few years ago and that means growers planted less trees then.

Now, the state is dealing with the outcome.

"All of a sudden, you have a big increase in the plantings for Christmas trees,” says Bob Schutte, “and seven to ten years later you've got an oversupply on the market and people are getting out of the business, and the cycle starts over.

But Schutte says that's probably not the only reason. “The last two summers, at least, have been hard on noble fir because of the heat.”

What does it mean for you? You'll find a tree, but it might be a little pricier this year - the number of trees go down and prices go up.

A Christmas tree in Oregon isn't just about making your living room look extra festive; Christmas trees are a huge business in Oregon. The state produces about 5 million per year, and the Department of Agriculture says that brings in $90 million a year for the state.

As for Lynn and Bob Schutte, they say while they might see a few issues.

“We'll probably suffer similar growing pains as other farmers are, you know, as our trees come up,” Bob says.

But thanks to their popular holiday attractions and number of healthy trees, they're confident it won't be a business breaker.

“We're going to be okay,” says Lynn. “We'll be good.”

Oregon is the nation's leading producer of Christmas trees and ships them across the country and around the world.

just be prepared to maybe pay more green for your green.

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