Watch CBS News

Yule Pay More: Shortage Drives Up Christmas Tree Prices

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- A national Christmas tree shortage means real trees are going to cost consumers more this year.

Volunteers at The Guardsmen in San Francisco say they're seeing the shortage first-hand.

"The last couple years Christmas trees have been harder to get, the number of farms to get trees from has gone down," Billy Davis sad.

Davis is a volunteer with The Guardsmen at Fort Mason in San Francisco. The non-profit runs a tree lot every year at this time, proceeds go towards at risk youth in the Bay Area.

Davis says they're trying to keep prices steady, "you might see a $5 increase in price."

The Christmas tree business is a $2 billion a year industry in the U.S.

Mac Harman with the American Christmas Tree Association says the high prices this year can be tracked back to the recession in 2008, fewer farmers could afford to stay in business then, so fewer trees were planted during that time.

"It takes about eight to ten years to grow that tree and then we're still working our way out of the Christmas tree shortage that stemmed from the recession about ten years ago when fewer trees were planted," Harman said.

More Americans are moving to fake trees, 82% of people who have a tree at home have an artificial one. As for which is the greener choice, real or fake, Harman says it's pretty much a wash.

"The environmental impact of both are minimal as long as you have an artificial tree for five years," Harman said.

This year average price of a tree in the U.S. is $60 but, in San Francisco, it can be closer to $150-$200. Davis says most of The Guardsmen trees retail for $95 -- all for a good cause.

"All the trees you buy here, all those proceeds, go to benefit at-risk San Francisco youth. Our prices are a little higher than some chains but you are supporting a non-profit here in San Francisco," Harman said.

The best advice, if you want a real tree: get one sooner rather than later because they're scarce and they're going fast.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.