VALENCIA, Calif. (KABC) -- The average price of a natural Christmas tree has spiked significantly amid lower inventory this year, and the owner of a Santa Clarita tree farm says several other factors have contributed to the cost increase.
Frosty's Forest in Valencia has been in business for nearly 50 years.
"It's just been a little harder this year," said owner-manager Brent Green. "A lot of things, with the trees themselves, have just had kind of the issue of drought being a major one. It browned out a lot of the big trees -- we won't get those back in until next year when they've re-flushed from all the rains that they did get this last couple months.
"The shortages of labor, people just not wanting to work, has spiked all the tree prices up north, as well as gas prices have made all the freight charges, bringing trees down south, a lot more expensive," Green said.
"So we still have great selection of trees, we still have a lot of beautiful trees. They've just you know gone up about 20 to 25% this year," he said.
A Christmas tree that would have costed a $119.99 during last year's holiday season, plus $7 for flocking, will cost up to $149.99 this year.
Asked what he tells customers about the higher cost, Green said his response to them is: "We're sorry and bear with it this year. That's all we can really do. We're trying to keep up with the quality and everything that we always have, but as far as the prices go, we're going to try and get them down next year if freight goes back down.
"But it's just kind of wait-and-see process at this time."
Customer Sandra Burkhardt said she heard on the news that there might be a tree shortage, so she and her husband vowed to get theirs on the day after Thanksgiving.
The couple said they were undeterred by this year's price increase.
"Absolutely, we don't care," Sandra Burkhardt said. "We're going to get one no matter what it costs because it's Christmas."