PORTLAND, Ore. – As December approaches, it may be Christmas tree prices that get trimmed instead of the trees themselves, as supply outstrips demand this holiday season.
It takes 5 to 10 years before trees are large enough for the living room, and record-high prices in the early part of this decade persuaded farmers to invest in Christmas trees.
That means many of those plants are reaching maturity at a time when consumers are tight-fisted and enticed away by artificial trees.
As a result, a 7-foot-tall noble fir that sold wholesale for $25-$39 a few years ago will fetch maybe half that this Christmas season.
In Oregon, the top state for Christmas tree production, one farmer is holding out hope the industry will get a late season boost.
Stan Low says he's noticed some retailers have under-ordered toys and are scrambling to get more. Low hopes "maybe the same thing will happen with Christmas trees."