Nationwide Christmas tree shortage

YORK COUNTY, Pa. - There's a Christmas tree shortage across the nation, as the demand for real trees continues to rise.

Growers in York County said you will still be able to get a Christmas tree around here with no problems. There are thousands upon thousands of trees at Strathmeyer's Christmas Tree Farm. However, not all Christmas tree farm owners can say the same.

The 2008 recession may be one of the reasons for the shortage.

"They got out of the business because it wasn't profitable," Gerrit Strathmeyer, the president, said. "And they needed to focus on making money elsewhere."

And the one's who did stick around grew fewer, according to Strathmeyer.

"Tree business takes anywhere from 10-12 years to get your product," Strathmeyer said. "So consequently you're now seeing the results of that not planting."

Fewer companies growing fewer trees means fewer trees for you. Also affecting supplies is heavy rain in the midwest and droughts on the west coast.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture census data, the number of tree farms decreased in multiple counties between 2007 and 2012.​ In York they went from 56 to 44. In Lancaster, they went from 66 to 41.​ Dauphin County was the only County that saw an increase by 6 farms.​

Strathmeyer's made the conscious decision to downsize back in 2008, selling only locally, and not to box stores like Lowe's and Home Depot.

"It really doesn't hurt us that much," Strathmeyer said. "And because we're local growers, we're not ones that gouge the market, ya know, take advantage and just really charge up. We keep our prices low."

FOX43 called several other tree farms in York County who also said there's been a shortage. Still, all of the owners said the demand is there.​

"Here local we have plenty of trees and we'll have plenty of trees right up till Christmas Eve," Strathmeyer said. "So it won't be a problem."

If the price of a Christmas tree scares you or deters you from getting a real tree, most places, including Strathmeyer's have trees ranging anywhere from free to $200, depending on the size and quality.

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