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Nationwide shortage of Christmas trees impacts Huntsville

The number of farmers growing Christmas trees in the state has declined in recent years.

Posted: Nov 28, 2017 6:46 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2017 7:46 PM

Many people are now searching for the perfect Christmas tree for their home, but there is a nationwide shortage of Christmas trees causing prices to up in some states.

This is because of a drought and recesson that happened years ago.

It has been decades since the McAllister Family got a real Christmas tree for Christmas.

"Are we looking for something trimmed or something fluffy? Those are the two options. To see if they're fluffy, groomed or manicured," said James McAllister.

The cost of Fraser fir trees at Valley Christmas Tree Plantation has gone up as much as $6 since last year.

That's because owner George Brown has to purchase them from North Carolina. Brown said the grower in North Carolina who purchased the Fraser fir trees told him there's been a shortage. He said the trees they're harvesting now were planted 12 years ago, during a drought.

"The drought affects you the year you plant the seedlings. It's not if you get the drought, it's when you get the drought," said George Brown who owns Valley Christmas Tree Plantation.

Brown said the number of farmers growing Christmas trees in the state has declined in recent years.

"We had over 200 tree members of the Alabama Christmas Tree Association in the 90's and 2000's. Now we probably don't have but maybe 20 farms in the entire state," Brown said.

He said another cause for the shortage is the change of demographics.

"People in apartments and trailers or people in their 20's living with their parents or elderly folks generally don't go for a live tree," Brown said.

George Brown also said the price for Christmas trees will continue to increase within the next few years until the next cycle of trees are fully grown.

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