By Drew Bollea

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times for Christmas tree purchases. But this year, the customer will likely pay a little more.

“Having a live fresh cut Christmas tree beats having a fake tree any day,” said Chad Ericson.

He has run Chad’s Christmas Trees on Jefferson Boulevard in West Sacramento for the last 15 years.

“We try to go through about 1,500 to 1,600 a year,” said Ericson.

All of his trees are brought in from Oregon and this year, the price is going up.

“We do our best to keep our customers happy and obviously compete with everyone else,” said Ericson about the uptick in price.

According to the head of the California Christmas Tree Association, in 2007, tree farmers planted fewer trees during the economic downturn. Now, the demand is back up, but the supply isn’t keeping pace.

“Our prices have gone up 25 percent for the trees that we bring in,” said Paul Weubbe, of Billy’s Tree Farm.

Ninety percent of the trees sold in California are brought in from out of state, mostly Oregon.

“So that’s definitely going to impact everybody’s pocketbook that’s coming out to get a Christmas tree,” said Weubbe.

Weubbe also sells locally grown trees that you can cut yourself.

“We keep expanding the varieties that we bring in and try and make sure we have plenty of trees,” said Weubbe.

He says the price of “choose and cut” trees hasn’t fluctuated in recent years, but they’re dealing with other issues.

“The drought has impacted us because we’ve had a higher mortality rate,” said Weubbe.

Because trees are a slow growing crop, Weubbe says it’s a challenge predicting supply and demand down the road.

“We’re planting today for five years from now,” said Weubbe.

Industry experts say because of the shortage and other factors, the Christmas tree shortage is likely to continue for the next seven to 10 years.

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