Americans are facing a potential Christmas tree shortage this year in a lingering effect from the financial crisis a decade ago.

Some tree growers went out of business as the economy buckled in 2008.

Because trees take seven to 10 years to reach an acceptable size for buyers the effect is only being felt now.

Jane Waterman, of Uptown Christmas Trees which sells festive firs in New York, told the Wall Street Journal: "We were able to cobble together enough trees, a few from this farmer, a few from that farmer. We’re going to have enough trees, but they were very expensive."

Additional factors contributing to soaring tree prices included bad weather in northern growing areas, a shortage of migrant workers to cut them down, and increased red tape for trucking companies bringing trees from Canada.

Doug Hundley, spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, said many new Christmas tree businesses opened around 2005.

The market was flooded and when the recession hit a few years later production plummeted.

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He said the problematic "balance between supply and demand" meant there had been a 17 per cent increase in average tree prices since 2015.

Bill Campbell, owner of Campbell’s Christmas Trees, told The Daily Item: "The market was overproducing, overproducing for years and years and years, and then the recession hit and prices fell. Many guys couldn’t afford to stay in the business anymore."

Scott Lechner, of SoHo Trees in New York, said customers were flooding in looking for trees.

He told the Wall Street Journal: "Just like the groundhog can predict winter I can predict the economy. Not by Christmas trees but by the ancillary sales of tree stands, ornaments, lights. People are buying them, the economy is rolling."

His sales included a 24ft tree that went for $2,900.

The National Christmas Tree Association denied there was a shortage.

Tim O’Connor, a spokesman, said: "There is no shortage. There are enough Christmas trees available. Everyone who wants one will be able to get one."

Mittie B Brack News

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