MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) - These are busy days at the King Christmas Trees lot along highway 181 in Morganton.
The lot is filled every year with trees to sell, but this time around there are not so many in one section.
"The six and seven footers," said Brent King. Those are in tight supply this year, he says. "It's no joke."
Larry Smith, who has farms in Avery County, says it dates back from issues almost 20 years ago when growers planted too many seedlings.
By the time they reached the proper size for market, the recession hit.
Supply far outstripped demand. Many growers could not sell trees for a profit. Some went out of business and others retired, he said. That meant not so many seedlings were planted then.
Now, at a time when those seedlings would be grown up and ready for market, there are not so many trees.
"The supply is tight this year," says Smith. "Next year will be tighter."
There are plenty on the corner lots right now but re-supplying them will be an issue this year. Smith says he does not want to cut more trees this year or next year's customers will be hurt.
He advises people to shop early if they want a six or seven footer. There are plenty of taller trees available and Brent King says if he has to, he will cut those down to size to satisfy customers.
Smith says it will take a while but supply and demand should equal out again in a couple of years.