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What the national Christmas tree shortage means for Lafayette - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

What the national Christmas tree shortage means for Lafayette

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Lafayette, LA -

Nationwide, holiday shoppers in the market for that perfect Christmas tree could go home empty-handed this year as a result of a tree shortage across the country.

Every family has its own Christmas traditions, like special holiday carols, secret eggnog recipes and even permanent potted Christmas trees.

Lafayette resident Laura Westbrook's Norfolk Island Pine has been dressed up in ornaments and lights for four years now, a Christmas season staple her family can count on every year.

"It's nice to have the same tree every year. During the rest of the year when I water it, I think about Christmas and taking care of it. Some years I really trim it to be more of a Christmas tree shape. This year I kind of just let it be crazy. It's kind of a monster, but I'm enjoying it as a little monster this year," said Westbrook.

But for those traditions that include a trademark Fraser Fir, those trees aren't coming as cheap and easy as they used to.

"The demand has stayed the same and the supply has definitely dropped," said Jeffery Pollard, Owner of Pollard's Riversbend Farm Tree Lot.

With fewer trees to cut down, more prices are going up. In 2008, most families spent less than 40 dollars on their Christmas tree. These days, the average is up to 75 dollars.     

"It's what's changing the supply. The small-time farmers are getting out, and the big guys are planting less and less. So, this is kind of what's occurred," said Pollard.

Some say the problem started almost a decade ago during the recession when fewer trees were bought, planted and cut down--but the shortage can't be fixed as fast as it started.

"There's at least a seven-year lull between crops. They grow about a foot a year, so it's not just something that you can change within a year. So when something like this happens, it takes a little while to either rebound or to change the quantity I guess on the wholesale end," said Pollard.

The good news is retailers like Pollard's Riversbend Farm Tree Lot say they've got Lafayette covered this Christmas. 

"As far as we are concerned, we farm them ourselves so we're okay. We have an allotment that we set aside just for this," said Pollard.

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