Drought leads to higher Christmas tree prices

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SARASOTA--Months before Black Friday, U.S. farmers worried how this year's Christmas trees could survive the summer's blistering, record heat.

"The availability has become a little bit harder, big trees cost more money than they have in the past," said Roy Baldwin, who sells Christmas trees. He says because of the drought, he's had a tougher time landing bigger trees, but that smaller ones seem to have done just fine.

"The prices have gone up quite a bit on the big trees, the small trees have stayed about the same but the large trees have gone up as well as the cost of getting them shipped out here," said Baldwin.

A slightly smaller crop coupled with rising fuel costs means you'll probably end up paying just a little more for this year's tree.

"Pricing is a little bit higher this year than it has been in years past but other than that we haven't had any issues," said Cezar Sharbono, coach of the Sarasota High School wrestling team, which is selling trees for a fundraiser.

Sharbono says the group unfortunately had to pass along the increase in price to customers, an increase he says most likely stems from the drought.

But while prices may be slightly higher than last year, so too are the numbers of people already looking for that perfect frasier fir.

"From years past we're up by a little bit from last year, we have had better years but from last year we're up," said Baldwin.