Nationwide Christmas tree shortage means you'll pay more, and there's less selection

SHAWNEE, Kansas -- A shortage of Christmas trees has some saying "bah humbug!" Experts say you should go tree shopping early this holiday season, and be prepared to pay more.

Many families love shopping for a Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving, and everyone has their vision of what the perfect tree looks like.

"The one that's kind of like medium size, and it's's like filled with leaves," a shopper said.

"We got a fraser fir and again, that's something we get every year. We like the shape. We like the smell," a shopper said.

But consumers across the country are facing a shortage of trees stemming from the recession, which drove down demand. Growers then planted fewer trees, and now, we're feeling the effects, since it takes about a decade for a tree to grow big enough to be sold.

"It takes a long time for them to grow, so we're looking at another 3 to 5 years of shortage on Christmas trees," John Martin, tree lot owner in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Now, demand is back, but supply is down, forcing a price increase of 5 to 10 percent this year. Some tree growers said there's no choice.

"We haven't raised the price for 5 or 6 or 7 years, but we had to go up," Martin said.

"I've been in this business for 32 years, and I've never had to pay the prices I'm paying," Mat Shadle, tree lot owner in Salt Lake City, Utah said.

Western wildfires have also impacted the supply of trees in states like California and Oregon.

"California is driving this market," Shadle said.

If you're looking for a real Christmas tree this holiday season, experts say you should shop early to ensure the best selection.