O Tannenbaum, where art thou?

By Mary Elizabeth Williams-Villano

Christmas tree sellers warn of a shortage this year.

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If you're one of those folks who feels that anything other than a real, grown-in-the-ground Christmas tree just ain’t Kosher, you’d better go buy one now.

A story on KIMA-TV’s website (Yakima, Washington) says local sellers are saying there’s a Christmas tree shortage — and not only in the Pacific Northwest.

Robert Mitchell manages Roots Nursery and Landscape in Yakima. He says he’s noticed fewer and fewer trees available for sale. "There's really a Christmas tree shortage and we're going to be in it for another two to three years," he says.

Mitchell says he felt the fir shortage last year when the nursery ran out of trees ten days before Christmas. Those who waited until then didn't get one at all.

It takes a Christmas tree 10 years to grow before it is ready to be cut, thrown on top of a car and dragged home to be decorated.

For the roots of the spruce shortage, we have to go back a few years, to the recession of 2008-2010. "About 12 years back, Christmas tree farms were not making any money, so they stopped planting," Mitchell says. Now, the growers are trying to play catch-up.

"Once they realized the market was changing, they started planting again. Well, they they still have those 10 lost years."

Nonetheless, Roots Nursery has a good supply of trees despite the shortage and expects to sell over 1,200 tinsel-bearers this season. Mitchell says he’s getting customers who can't find a tree anywhere else in town. However, the demand is driving up orders and he’s worried the supply he does have will sell out fast.

"We're selling trees earlier but also we're picking up a lot of new customers," Mitchell said.

Just in case you can’t get the 8-foot-tall Christmas tree of your dreams this year, remember that height isn’t everything. Think of how Charlie Brown’s pals fixed up the nice little one he found.