Christmas tree shortage's roots go back to 2008 financial crisis

Christmas tree shortage

CLIFTON, N.J. -- 'Tis the season for picking out the perfect Christmas tree. But for many shoppers it's coming with a bit of sticker shock.

"It was higher than I was expecting," Kristina Uban told CBS Los Angeles. "And we paid about the same for a bigger tree last year." 

The National Christmas Tree Association says prices are on the rise around 5 to 10 percent in many states. It's being blamed on a Christmas tree shortage in certain parts of the country.  

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Christmas tree prices are up in 2017. CBS News

"And so speaking to my grower, he said, 'John, I'm not sure if i'm going to be able to give you your entire order this year, so you might start looking around,'" Patton Christmas Tree's John Patton told CBS Dallas. "All the growers are saying, 'we're shorter than usual.'"

It takes 7 to 10 years for a Christmas tree to grow and that's at the root of the problem. 

During the financial crisis nine years ago, cash-strapped americans bought fewer trees. Demand plumetted and growers either went out of business or planted fewer trees.

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Christmas trees on the lot in New Jersey.  CBS News

At Fred's Christmas Trees in New Jersey, owner Fred Dauth said he is seeing a shortage of the larger trees. He said people are rushing to get a tree. 

"They're telling us they're afraid they can't get a tree because of the shortage," Dauth said. 

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Some of the Christmas trees in Clifton, New Jersey. CBS News

He thinks he might sell out early this year, but he can't get his hands on more.

"I asked to get a few hundred more because our truck wasn't full and they just don't have them," Dauth said. 

Growers are now planting more trees but it will take time for them to reach full height, which means next year prices, could be higher again.