Boise - If you're one of those people who enjoys having a real Christmas tree, experts say you may want to purchase one well in advance. A shortage of trees is expected, guaranteed to leave some folks feeling the holiday blues.
"It's actually the most severe shortage I've seen in the entire time I've worked in the family tree business," said Kendall Hopkins, owner of Hopkins Evergreen.
Hopkins, a tree farmer of 50 years, says difficulty securing entry-level labor, seedling shortages and wildfires are contributing factors to the market's under-supply.
He also says, in a good economy, it's hard to keep real trees in stock.
"Boise Valley is a good example of this, with growth and a booming economy, more people are purchasing trees," Hopkins said.
Boise's North End Organic Nursery has secured about 700 Christmas trees to sell this season and nearly a dozen customers have already reserved theirs.
Employees say the demand for real trees dipped about five years ago, and the growers they work with didn't plant as many seedlings.
"It takes seven years to grow a Christmas tree, so the farmers didn't plant as many and now we're starting to see the results of that supply and demand fluctuation," said Katie Sedacca, nursery employee.
And this holiday season, retailers say demand will be high for the limited supply.
Retailers are encouraging folks who want a real tree to make their purchase early. Christmas tree lots should start to open around Thanksgiving.