National Christmas Tree Shortage Impacts Some Local Tree Farms

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CHARLESTON (KFSM) -- A nationwide Christmas tree shortage is affecting tree farms here at home.

"There is a slight shortage," said Greg Eckart, co-owner of Pine Grove Christmas Tree Farm.

Eckart is getting his tree farm ready for his busiest weekend of the season. They have everything from Leyland Cypress, Carolina Sapphires, Murray Cyprus and White Pine Trees. They also import Fraser Fir trees from North Carolina.

"We just didn't get as many trees as we normally do," Eckart said. "We ordered the same number we normally order, but they shorted us. They said they just didn't have enough trees."

The drought in 2011 and 2012 killed about 500 trees at the Pine Grove Christmas Tree Farm. It has affected the supply of its Virginia Pines ever since.

"A lot of the trees we planted that year died before they had a chance to get started," Eckart said. "It's hard on them when they're real small and you have a drought."

He said it takes an average of five years to grow a Christmas tree.

"Some of them grow a little quicker, some it takes longer," he said. "The White Pine, it may take eight or nine years to get one big enough to sell."

Eckart said despite the shortage, there are still 8,000-10,000 trees to choose from. To get the best tree for your home, Christmas tree farmers suggest getting your tree early, but not too early.

"I don't think you should have your tree in the house more than 30 days," he said. "After that, they just get too dry."

A tree farmer in North Carolina told 5NEWS the shortage is attributed to severe drought, wildfires in Tennessee and more people going back to buying real Christmas trees instead of fake ones. There is not enough supply to meet the demand.

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