A Christmas tree shortage could be on the horizon for the holiday season

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MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Experts warn we could face a shortage of Christmas trees this year. Over-harvesting last year, high gas prices, and climate change all mean fewer trees are available.

Everything is harder to find these days. Everything is more expensive. The good news is, Connecticut farmers say you will be able to find a Christmas tree this year.

Your average Christmas tree takes about 10 years to grow. Kathy Kogut knows that. She runs the Hemlock Hill Tree Farm and is the executive director of the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association.

She says 2020 was a great year for cut-your-own farms.

“Last year, because everybody was stuck in, they weren’t seeing their families. This was an opportunity to get out with their families where it was safe,” said Kogut.

But with more trees cut last year, that means fewer trees are left this year. Plus, too much rain and root rot killed a lot of trees.

In fact, Mother Nature caused problems for farmers all over North America.

“Canada had a late frost and lost a lot of their crop,” said Kogut. “North Carolina, the freight is exorbitant to get the plants up here, and the west coast had the heat dome.”

Those imports are usually sold by scout troops and other groups as fundraisers, and a lot of those will not happen.

The Windsor Locks Fire Department already announced no tree sale this year. There are so many local farms like Hemlock Hill, however, that Kogut says the state will not run out.

“It might not be your favorite. It might not be the one your family is used to going to,” said Kogut. “But the farms in Connecticut are not going to run out of trees.”

“It is a difficult time. There is a new normal and that changes every day,” John Dzen Jr. of the Dzen Tree Farm in South Windsor told News 8 in a written statement. “The Christmas Tree industry is different than it’s ever been. There is an issue between the high demand and limited supply.”

That combination usually leads to high prices. Kogut says local growers will not start gouging you because they want you to come back for years to come.

“People are going to raise their price maybe 3% cost of living, but they’re not going to be taking trees and jacking them up to $50,” Kogut said.

Her advice is that if you want to find the tree you want at the place you want, shop earlier than usual this year.

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