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Expect fewer Christmas trees, higher prices thanks to summer heat wave

Last summer's heat wave is coming back to haunt us as Christmas tree shoppers discover how some farms were impacted.

We all know why it's good to be the early bird, but with Thanksgiving turkeys still defrosting it seems early to be thinking about a real Christmas tree. However, those in the industry warn supply may be tighter than ever this year. 

Last summer's heat wave is coming back to haunt us as tree shoppers discover how some tree farms were impacted.  At Trinity Tree Farm in Issaquah, the mature trees did better than new plantings. 

“I would say half of what we planted last year is not going to survive,” Geoff Wiley said.

It can take a decade for a tree to be ready depending on the variety. Wiley said this damage may mean more shortages in future years. 

Though many of their mature trees made it through the heat wave without major damage, Wiley said he’s heard of other farms that weren’t so lucky. 

“It’s horrible to watch it because you see it happening and then you can’t do anything to control it and you have to wait and see how bad the damage is going to turn out to be," Wiley said. 

Trinity will replant the young trees they lost but other farms that are dealing with mature tree damage might find it harder.   

Wiley said an increase in demand has also put pressure on their industry. In recent years they’d like to stay open longer but usually run out of trees they can sell.  

“We just get swamped with so many people and so the trees go faster and faster,” Wiley said. 

The American Christmas Tree Association reports supply chain issues and weather problems will mean a tighter supply so they’re recommending that everyone who is hoping for a real tree buy earlier and expect to pay more this year.