LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - If you plan on buying a real tree this holiday season, you might run into some trouble finding the tree you were hoping for.
Since 2010, the number of Christmas tree growers in the Pacific Northwest has dropped by more than 30-percent. Fewer trees being grown leads to fewer trees available for purchase, which has ultimately led one Lawton organization who sells trees to end up with a shortage of their best seller.
Treasurer for the Lawton Optimist Club Harold Diekman said when he tried to purchase trees for the Lawton Optimist Club Christmas tree lot, he was told there was a shortfall of Noble Firs, which is the best seller here in Lawton. He said he thinks a variety of factors have led to the shortage of Noble Firs.
"Part of it could be weather conditions, there have been dry periods in the Northwest, as well as we've had here. That would cut down on the number healthy trees that a supplier could sell," Diekman said.
Diekman said he also thinks the large demand for the Noble Firs, coupled with the reduction in people growing them has contributed.
"We've found that the big trees tend to go pretty quickly, so the supplier is getting a lot of demand for big trees," Diekman said. "Pretty soon, because it takes so long to grow a tree, they don't have the big trees and then they're losing the middle size trees. I think that has something to do with it."
Diekman said while they were obviously hoping for more Noble Firs, they are more than able to get by with what they've got.
"We didn't get as many Nobles as we would have liked but we got some good trees of different varieties to fill in the gaps," Diekman said. "We have a tremendous number of loyal longtime customers. If they can't get the Noble, they're more than happy to get something that looks pretty much like it or try something different this year."
Diekman said he hopes they are able to get more Nobles in the future because every purchase goes right back into our Lawton community.
"We raise money and then we turn around and put the money into youth-oriented projects in the community. There's any number of things going on in the community that benefit the youth and we find them. We have a youth orchestra we're very proud of," Diekman said.
The LaSill Optimist Christmas Tree Lot is located at NW Sheridan and Lincoln Ave. in Lawton.