A Christmas tree shortage could have you paying more this year

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Sunday, December 1, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- A shortage in Christmas trees could result in you paying a little bit more for a tree this holiday season.
Gay's Christmas Tree Farm in Augusta opened its season on Friday.

"We have been extremely busy the last few days," said owner Matthew Gay.

Gay has been selling trees for 17 years. This year, he's run into a bit of an issue: a shortage of Fraser Firs. It's one of the two types of trees Gay sells at his farm. The other, Leyland cypress, he grows on the farm. He buys his Fraser Firs from North Carolina.

"They will not withstand our heat," he said. "In July and August, they can't stand that. They need about 3,000 feet elevation to grow."

The recession in 2008 forced farmers to cut back on how many trees they planted, leaving them with a new problem more than a decade later.

"There's a higher demand, and there's less product available for the Fraser Firs," Gay said. "So, the price increases."

An increase in price could turn some people away, but Gay's Christmas Tree Farm was packed with people coming to get the real thing.

"It makes the house smell better, and it just looks good," said Timelia West.

"I love the smell. I love the smell," said Gail Coleman.

West said the extra few dollars don't matter as much because picking out a tree is a family event.

"It gives us family time," she said. "That's what we really look forward to coming out here."

Spending time together, getting in the holiday spirit and picking out the perfect, real tree.

Gay said the drought we had at the end of summer into fall prevents trees from growing as quickly, so we could see another shortage in a few years.

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