Have you decorated your giant Kardashian-level Christmas tree with your glass bulb IUD ornaments yet? If not, you may want to stop by your local nursery soon, because Instagram-worthy Christmas trees may be harder to get ahold of this season. A possible Christmas tree shortage is coming, and it’s thanks to the one thing coming for us all: climate change.
Warmer weather in states such as Michigan and Missouri has made it harder to grow Christmas trees, reports NBC’s Today show, as well as increased precipitation; both are known effects of climate change. In Missouri, above-average rainfall caused a crop-destroying fungus to grow on trees while in Oregon, higher summer temperatures in 2017 and 2018 caused a mass die-off of thousands of trees, reports local NBC affiliate KGW8. And as supplies of traditional evergreen pines dwindles in the market, the price of trees goes up for consumers.
There’s another interesting reason for the potential Christmas tree shortage: the 2008 recession. In addition to upending the job market for mid-2000s college grads, inflating wealth inequality among the rich and the rest of us, and permanently changing everything we believed about the American Dream, it caused less Christmas trees to be grown, since people were buying less trees. The evergreens take about 10 years to mature, so do the math.
Still, Christmas tree expert Tim O'Connor told Today, “There is not a single community in the country that ever ran out of Christmas trees. There may be certain locations that ran out of trees because of various reasons, but not too far away there will still be another place to get a tree.” In other words, be prepared to drive and pay a little more for your Christmas tree this year. And if you can’t score a tree, there’s always pine-scented Christmas candles.