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Fires, Drought, Supply Chain Issues May Mean Shortages At Bay Area Christmas Tree Lots

LIVERMORE (KPIX) - Supply chain issues are already putting a crunch on finding the perfect holiday presents and now they could also mean a Christmas tree shortage at tree lots across the Bay Area.

Despite an empty lot on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, Johnny Moore says they'll be ready. He's run Moore Christmas Trees in the East Bay for more than 40 years.

"There's most definitely a tree shortage. This is definitely the worst I've seen," he says.

The majority of the Christmas trees at Bay Area tree lots come from Oregon and Washington - states that both experienced record high temperatures this summer during what would have been the peak growing time for trees.

The American Christmas Tree Association says some Oregon farmers reported losing up to 90% of their crop this summer – some due to drought, others to scorching heatwaves, and some to wildfires. Some consumers might be turning to artificial trees, but retail experts say those could be difficult to find by Christmas as well due to supply chain disruptions.

Moore says thanks to his longstanding relationships with growers, he will be fully stocked at both his lots - the main one in Livermore and a smaller one in San Ramon. He worries that might not be true for other retailers.

"I think this year is definitely a tough year for a lot of tree lots to come up with enough trees," says Moore.

He says the best bet this year is to shop early, be prepared to pay 10% to 15% more for your tree, and if you find a great tree - buy it. Moore says many lots might run out of trees well before Christmas.

"If they sell out early, they're pretty much done. They're not going to be able to get more trees," he says.

Most Bay Area tree lots will be open by Thanksgiving.

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