Add Christmas trees to the list of items facing shortages and higher prices this year.
Several factors are driving the trend, including over-the-top sales last year during the first Christmas during the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues this year.
Experts said tree buyers should expect to pay between 10% and 30% more for both live trees and artificial trees this year and also have a smaller selection to choose from.
Several factors are at work. Farmers struggling after the economic recession in 2009 planted fewer trees for several years and demand has been rising in the last several years, experts said. It takes eight to 10 years for a tree to reach maturity.
Shipments of artificial trees have been delayed this year due to supply chain issues including a shortage of truck drivers to make deliveries.
``Some of the major retailers say they have about 43 percent of their inventory right now when it should be closer to 70 percent at this time of the year,’’ Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents Christmas tree retailers.
- The Associated Press