Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas tree shortage this year.
You can place much of the blame on issues for real trees that go far beyond state or country borders. Drought and wildfires hit tree-growing regions that will likely impact just not 2021 but continue for years to come. (One tree farmer, Mark Wonser, of Estacada, Ore., told The Oregonian he lost about 90 percent of his 2021 seedlings due to historic heat.)
But that doesn't mean there's an opening for artificial trees to fill. Global shipping and production issues in China — where many artificial trees are manufactured — have led to supply shortfalls while increased prices for raw materials are driving up costs.
In the Washington Post, National Tree Co. CEO Chris Butler said that even though it placed orders a year ahead of time, the East Windsor, N.J.-based company expects to have 10 percent fewer trees this year.
"Each pre-lit 7.5-foot Dunhill fir, which sells for about $330 at national retailers ... now costs $50 to ship across the ocean," Butler told the Post. "That's compared with $5 a year ago. Other components have also gotten pricier: the cost of PVC plastic for tree needles has risen 65 percent from last year, while steel for the pole structure is up 58 percent."