It may be harder to find the perfect Christmas tree

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By Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. — People may need to trim back their Christmas tree expectations this year.

A tight supply means some shoppers will be paying more and searching longer for that perfect Christmas tree this holiday season. But there’s no need for panic buying on Black Friday as industry experts say consumers will end up with something to decorate this holiday season.

The yuletide market imbalance was created a decade ago when a glut of Christmas trees and the Great Recession combined to drive many growers out of business. Now the supply is tight and it takes eight to 10 years — the time needed to grow a Christmas tree — to boost the supply.

“It’s bad. It’s the worst I’ve seen in a long time,” said Matthew LaCasce, co-owner of the Finestkind Christmas tree farm in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. The farm sells about 10,000 trees each season and is turning down orders every day from desperate retailers, LaCasce said.

Larger retailers are doing just fine, officials say. It’s the smaller charitable organizations, school groups, and mom-and-pop operators that have had to scramble for trees.

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