Tree shortage may make coming Christmases a little more expensiv - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tree shortage may make coming Christmases a little more expensive

Posted: Updated:

WEST RICHLAND, WA - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but a nationwide Christmas tree shortage could force some people to re-think their decorations.

We spoke with Paul Wood - owner of Wood's Nursery in West Richland - who's been told that nationwide there are about 8 million fewer Christmas trees compared to a normal year, and unfortunately, this problem won't be going away soon.

It's hard to think of Christmas without also imagining the smell of a fresh cut tree. But that could be the new reality.

"My understanding is that there is an 8 million tree shortage in the United States," Wood said.

Though the economy is doing as well as it has in years, the shortage of Christmas trees is being blamed in part on the recession that caused fewer people to plant trees.

"We've bought trees from the same grower for 23 years," said Wood. "He was nice enough to call me and let me know about the shortage, so what he did was he took all of his customers and gave them 40 percent of what they normally get." 

Unfortunately that means you can probably expect to spend at least 15-20 percent more this year.

"A lot of people said they were just flat sold out, I was lucky enough to get a hold of a farmer who had trees and wanted to sell them to me, but they were more than we're used to paying and we're going to eat most of that but we have to pass some of that on to the buyer."

But if you can't get that perfect 7-foot Noble Fir, don't despair. Traditional fresh cut trees aren't your only option if you still want to go the natural route. You can get shorter trees that are pre-potted, making them taller. And then after Christmas, you can plant your tree and have it there for years to come.

The big take away is this: Christmas trees are likely going to be more expensive for the next few years. And while that might tempt some people to go the fake route, that could end up extending the shortage, because as the demand drops, farmers plant less trees as they did during the great recession.