SPOKANE, Wash. — If you have not already picked out a Christmas tree, you'll want to do it sooner rather than later.
Many Spokane tree farms are closing early this season due to a shortage of trees.
The Dietz family have been growing Christmas trees for the greater Spokane area for the last 40 years. But since their supply can no longer keep up with demand, this may be one of the last years as a tree farm.
Jim Dietz's father planted the first trees on their farm in Green Bluff. Dietz grew up with these trees, and his roots are just as deep in this family business.
"It's the kind of business that literally grows on you," Dietz said. "It just becomes a part of you and it's kind of in your blood."
But as the trees grew, so did the demand for the experience of cutting your own Christmas tree.
"Last year, I definitely saw an increase," Dietz said. "So now it seems like now everybody, a lot of families, want the fresh trees."
Dietz Christmas tree farm worked around this last year by requiring reservations. It's continued this year, but now their supply can't keep up with the demand. Dietz blames the recent drought.
"The hot dry summers and lack of moisture," Dietz said. " A lot of seedlings that I planted the last three of four years did not make it. You lose three or four years of planting, then you're behind that many years."
It hasn't been easy seeing this shortage in a business he loves so deeply.
"It's been fun over the years watching families choose a tree and I get to watch them make happy memories," he said.
Now he's started to consolidate and clear out his remaining trees.
"I'm getting older and I'm ready to just downsize," he said.
Instead of closing for good, Dietz will shift his deep roots on the Dietz tree farm into the pumpkin business.