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Allen County Christmas Tree shortage blamed on lack of farms

The farms that are still around are doing what they can to meet the demand.

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 9:48 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2018 11:30 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - It might be harder to find that live Christmas tree this year.

There's a national Christmas tree shortage.

The shortage is being blamed on the recession about a decade ago since it takes trees about that long to grow.

Allen County's Christmas tree shortage is because there aren't as many farms planting trees as there once were. But the farms that are still around are doing what they can to meet the demand.

"There were quite a few, maybe 10 or 12 farms," said Judy Reifenberg, St. Joe Christmas Tree Farm owner.

Today there are only two tree farms in Allen County.

Reifenberg and her husband owns St. Joe Christmas Tree Farm on St. Joe Road.

She said there just aren't new people looking to get in the tree growing business.

"When people come out to our farm, we're not just selling them a tree. We are selling them the experience. The come out, they enjoy the outside, the enjoy the trees, they can take a walk on the farm," said Reifenberg.

Part of the problem is it takes time to grow trees, about 10 years for a tree to grow six to seven feet.

Now farmers have to try to predict trends a decade in advance.

"In 2006 we were still planting scotch pine as the number one seller, so we are actually trying to divert from that," said Reifenberg. "Today, everyone wants a Frasier Fir, which is not native to this area."

To make sure they don't run out, the Reifenbergs offers many trees precut from Michigan.

"It's not as poky as the Scotch Pine and it is a little shorter needle so it is easier to handle up in the vacuum," Reifenberg said.

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