You might end up paying more for Christmas trees this year - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

You might end up paying more for Christmas trees this year

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MARION COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

As we head into November, it's out with the pumpkins and in with the Christmas trees.

"They want to just go ahead and get their tree right now and set it up even through it's not Christmas," says Burnie McDowell, co-founder of McDowell's Big Fork Nursery in Marion County.

He and his family have run the nursery since the 1970s. He grows many varieties of trees, but expects the ones perfect for Christmas to start selling soon.

"Usually the week before Thanksgiving the traffic gets pretty heavy. But somewhere around the 15th, the middle of the month, a few will start coming in," adds McDowell.

These trees take anywhere from six to twelve years to mature. The recession several years ago slowed business, and McDowell had trouble breaking even.

"After the recession come in here we had an overabundance of trees that weren't selling. So, out of necessity, we had to start selling cut trees," explains McDowell. "It's better to sell at a reduced price than it was for us to cut them ourselves and burn them."

He survived the bad times, but some growers in top-producing states like Oregon and North Carolina haven't been as fortunate. Low prices forced many out of business and many remaining farmers are struggling to keep up with demand. This means you might pay more for your tree depending on where you buy it.

Some retailers, like Ramsey Produce in Hixson, are still negotiating costs with their suppliers. The owner told Channel 3 his supply will be a little smaller this year, but he's hoping to keep prices the same.

Back on the nursery, the recession didn't shake McDowell's Christmas spirit. He and his staff weathered the tough times and irrigated as much as possible through last year's drought to save crops. His prices won't change.

"We don't anticipate going up on out prices at all. We're doing okay," says McDowell. "We're not getting rich, but we're doing okay."

Also, rising costs and lower inventory in some places could increase the number of artificial trees purchased.

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