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Drought, tree shortage to blame for Christmas tree price hike

Tree suppliers said recent drought and a short supply of mature trees is to blame for prices rising across the Northwest.

Posted: Nov 26, 2018 11:27 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Thanksgiving has come and gone, and many people are now shopping for this year's Christmas tree.

However, when you go to buy one don't be shocked when you see prices have jumped by $5 to $15 dollars.

The owner of Bo's Trees, Beau Leach, said right now, the Northwest is short about one million trees because of drought and trees not being planted.

He said that a decade ago people weren't buying or planting trees because of the recession.

Now a lack of rainfall has killed trees as well.

On top of that, large suppliers have bought up the large tree farms, and three of the four seedling suppliers went out of business.

So, small businesses have to find trees where they can.

"We grow maybe a third to a half of our trees," Leach said. "The other half -- I've never seen anything like it and I've been doing it since I was 19 years old, I'm scouring roads I've never been on looking for trees before and finding the local small farmers, because the big farms are all bought out."

Tree shopper Jeremy Leighton said that if this keeps up, it could hurt his family's tradition.

"Ever since growing up, I've always had real trees," Leighton said. "It gives you a smell in the house, something to decorate with your kids. It's one of the things that they've taken away and you have to go in and buy something from somewhere else. Eventually it's like everything else that goes up in price and pretty soon you can't afford it."

For now, Leighton said he's going to keep buying trees for his son until they simply can't afford to anymore.

As for the tree prices, that prices will balance back out in three to four years when tree numbers bounce back.

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