Where have all the Christmas trees gone?

If you're having trouble finding the perfect Christmas tree this year, you're not the only one. Several of the most popular varieties of Christmas trees are scarce across the country this holiday season and therefore more expensive, too.

Consumers can blame the price hike and shortage of trees, such as the seven- and eight-foot pine, Fraser fir, noble, Douglas and spruce on the Great Recession, according to CNN. Following the recession, the economy was suffering and Christmas tree sales declined. Tree growers had an excess of trees and pulled back on planting new ones.

According to the most recent federal agriculture census, total production of Christmas trees across the country decreased more than 30 percent from 2002 to 2012.

"Trees are in shorter supply this year," North Carolina Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Heather Overton told CNN.

RELATED: Christmas tree shortage may force price hike

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Christmas tree shortage may force price hike
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Christmas tree shortage may force price hike
If you’re lucky enough to find a Christmas tree this year, you’ll have to pay a higher price for it.
If you’re lucky enough to find a Christmas tree this year, you’ll have to pay a higher price for it.
If you’re lucky enough to find a Christmas tree this year, you’ll have to pay a higher price for it.
If you’re lucky enough to find a Christmas tree this year, you’ll have to pay a higher price for it.
If you’re lucky enough to find a Christmas tree this year, you’ll have to pay a higher price for it.
If you’re lucky enough to find a Christmas tree this year, you’ll have to pay a higher price for it.
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The decrease in production during the Great Recession led to the tight Christmas tree market people are facing this season. Now, however, the economy is healthy. Christmas trees are once again in high demand and farmers are fighting to keep up. Due to the increase in demand, there's been a price hike of about 5 to 10 percent, said Doug Hundley, spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, a group representing Christmas tree growers.

The association's annual survey found customers spent an average of $74.70 on a tree in 2016, an increase of 30 percent from 2015.

This season, 95 million homes will buy a Christmas tree, but only about 19 percent of them will be real, according to the American Christmas Tree Association, a group representing artificial tree sellers.

If you really have your heart set on an authentic Christmas tree, don't worry, the shortage won't last forever. Overton predicts the "market to really start to rebound in 2019."

RELATED: What your Christmas tree says about your personality

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What your Christmas tree says about your personality
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What your Christmas tree says about your personality

If you tend to opt for a real tree, you likely find tradition important and feel that the fresh scent of pine needles is worth a bit of extra mess. 

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If you're a busy bee, your schedule might not allow for time to sweep up those pesky pine needles and an out-of-the-box tree is the fit for you. You like convenience and investments that last. 

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If you're the type to mix souvenir and baby picture ornaments with the more classic decor, you're a sentimentalist and want your tree to reflect your memories. 

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A meticulously matching tree suggests someone who prioritizes order, organization and good taste. It's okay if you need the tinsel to pine needle ratio to be balanced, let your type A side shine. 

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For those that can't get enough of 'It's A Wonderful Life' and are convinced they were born in the wrong era, they probably pack on that tinsel. 

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Finally, nothing says glamorous and elegant like white lights, while rainbow lights suggest a fun-loving side likely to rock around that Christmas tree.

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"We truly believe that there is no wrong choice when it comes to choosing a Christmas tree for your family," said Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association. "Go out there and find the Christmas tree, or trees, that best fits your lifestyle and preference."

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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