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Nationwide Christmas tree shortage means smaller selection, higher prices

Posted at 6:10 PM, Nov 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 22:34:09-05

Thanksgiving is just hours away and for some, that means it's also time to pick out the perfect Christmas Tree. But with a nationwide shortage, finding that perfect tree may be harder and customers could have to fork over more green.

"This year we decided to get it at this time and I used to cut down trees when I was a kid, but this is the first time I've done it as a father with my kids, so we are starting a new tradition," said James Carp, a customer at Holloway's Christmas Tree Farm in Nipomo.

However, states across the country are experiencing a shortage of these famous pines, which has people like Carl Holloway, who has been in the business for 60 years, aware of the demand.

"We sold all of our fir trees last year by the 15th of December. We were out of pre-cut trees that we bring in and this year we have 400 less than the number we got last year," said Holloway.

While many find the fir pines attractive, locally-grown Monterrey pines are another less-expensive choice.

"Half the trees we grow here on the farm are Monterrey pines. They're my favorite tree," said Holloway.

According to Holloway, the recession back in 2008 led many tree farmers to downscale operations or leave the industry all together - the impact of that now just being felt.

Big box stores like Home Depot are also running low on supply.

Noble firs take about seven years to reach seven to eight feet in height; however, Monterrey pines only take about four years to grow the same height and since they are grown locally, their prices are also lower.

Holloway said they expect thousands of people to be visiting the farm the day after Thanksgiving, likely one of the busiest days in the year. Holloway said they will make about 50 percent of their annual profits in the days to come.