BEND, OR -- Christmas time is here, but a Christmas tree may be hard to come by.
Five to seven years ago, due to the recession and other factors, fewer tree growers planted fewer seedlings, which means this year, there's more demand than supply.
Tom Coburn, owner of Tom's Trees for the last thirty years, says there's a Christmas tree shortage, and that's making some folks worry. "There are people that can't even get trees. I am fortunate because I've dealt with these growers as long as I have, and they both told me they had numerous people contact them mid to late summer, inquiring about trying to buy trees and they just don't have any more. They're just servicing their regular customers."
Tom says he'll have plenty of trees, but depending on the specie, buyers should expect to pay $5 to $10 more per tree.
Coburn says the Christmas tree market is surprisingly cyclical, and though the recession hit tree growers hard, there were other problems, too. "There was a shortage of good seedlings. All of them are hybrids, Christmas trees, that's how they grow them, and so they had some problems with some of the seedlings, how they grow them, and that equated to a shortage. It takes approximately five to seven years for them to get a size tree to where they can harvest it and sell it."
Tom's planning to bring weekly loads of trees into Central Oregon, and his Christmas wish is that everyone who wants a tree, can get one.