The effects of this summer's drought are still being felt. Some of the hardest hit areas this year...Christmas tree farms. The drought may have some tree farmers seeing brown - not green.
The nativity scene is already up at Wilbert’s Tree Farm in Webster. It may not look like much now - but with a little snow and colder temperatures this tree farm will be a Christmas paradise. But for now it’s a scene out of the old west with a wind whipped field and dead trees posing as tumble weeds.
“This field is in real tough shape - there's no doubt about that one,” says Peter Wilbert of Wilbert’s Tree Farm.
Tough shape indeed! Because of the 30,000 trees planted in these fields this spring - seventy five percent did not survive this summer's drought. Disappointing?
“Oh sure it’s disappointing, oh yes! A lot of cost…very disappointing,” says Wilbert.
It’s a long road for these trees. This one is about 8 - 10 years old and it looks pretty good - maybe as a Christmas tree in your living room. But take a look at this one - about the same age - but the drought has caused some problems here. You can see the needles are turning yellow and they're starting to fall off.
The drought not only destroyed the trees planted earlier this year...some mature trees have also bitten the dust. But don’t worry - there are still a number trees that are healthy, green and will cost you the same to cut down as last year... No mark ups this season.
“I would say prices are doomed to go up because of this type of thing yes. It's an 8 - 10 year thing before they mature,” says Wilbert.
Even though the youngsters didn't survive the summer drought - Peter says they're plenty of mature trees for the picking and Wilbert’s Tree Farm will be back planting next spring.
John did some checking around and found that places like Stokoe Farms didn't lose as many trees as Wilbert’s. That's because Stokoe received more rain. The folks there say they'll start selling trees late next week.