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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It’s about that time to start thinking about getting a Christmas tree. That’s if you are wanting to do the traditional thing and get a live Christmas tree for your living room this holiday season.

But one thing Hoosiers are starting to notice is that Christmas trees are a lot more expensive this year than in years past, roughly 12-percent to 24-percent more.

Daniel Cassens, professor emeritus in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University, is an expert on Christmas trees. He also runs a Christmas tree farm in West Lafayette and has produced award-winning Christmas trees in the past.

He said on top of inflation, in general, playing a role in higher Christmas tree prices, he says the increase dates back to a drought in 2012 that wiped out a lot of farmers’ Christmas tree inventory.

“If you lose all your trees, and you’re getting kind of elderly, and you say, ‘Well, why start all over?’ because it takes seven, eight years to produce that first tree once you start over. So that’s part of the factor,” said Cassens on Inside Indiana Business.

If because of this he says there are also fewer Christmas tree growers now, which is only adding more tightness to the market. Though you might be breaking the bank on a Christmas tree this year, Cassens said there is hope for the coming years.

The Real Christmas Tree Board, which monitors the number of available trees in the market, said in a recent survey that in 2018 about 28 million new trees were planted. In 2021, that number was up over 40 million. Cassens said those trees will add tons more inventory to the market.

“It’s going to take eight years for those trees to come to market,” said Cassens. “But when they do, consumers are going to get a break, I think.”

In the meantime, Cassens recommends that you do more with less if you are looking to save money on a Christmas tree. He said you can still make a good Christmas tree with a tree that may not be as high quality as others.