Unusually hot summer weather hurting Christmas tree farms

U.S. & World
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This hot, dry July weather is already acting like a summertime Grinch. Christmas tree farmers around the country count on rain year round to keep their crops growing.

“There’s always a challenge, one thing or another, different bugs different pests, always something,” said Christmas tree farmer, Fred Fras.

Fred Fras has worked on Whispering Pines Tree Farm in Michigan for decades.

This year’s blistering heat and extended dry weather has taken a toll on his tree farm. 

“The drought of two weeks without rain plus the temperatures in the 90s has really sapped our crop,” Fras said.

Fras is not worried about the trees for this year. Those big trees should be just fine. It’s the crop they just planted that got dried out. 60-70 percent of the trees he planted are lost.

“It means that next year we probably have to almost double up on our order from what we planted this year to re-supply those trees,” Fras said. “It’s just taking and re-working those fields and getting them re-prepared for next year. It’s all added expense and work.” 

It takes six or seven years to grow a six or seven-foot christmas tree. 

That means in half a dozen years, Whispering Pines and other tree farmers will have a shortage of Christmas trees. 

The solution is to buy more full-grown trees from another farm in six or seven years to supplement the trees he grows. 

“That’s a considerable larger expense for us,” Fras said.

This drought might mean more work and extra cost, but Fras says it won’t stop his family farm. 

“Even with all the challenges I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Fras said.

Fras said that he has been growing Christmas trees his entire life. Now both his son and grandson have gotten involved in the farm as well.

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