Christmas tree farmers look ahead after drought impacts
(ABC 6 News) – Starting this weekend, families across the country will be heading out to a Christmas tree farm to pick the perfect tree. Despite the dry summer we had, farmers have thousands of trees ready. Still, the drought has had its impacts.
“This is unprecedented for us,” said Scott Enzenauer, the Owner of Enzenauer Evergreens.
Enzenahuer and his wife, Donna, have been running their farm for more than 30 years. You could say decking the halls comes easy. But this year’s drought had them saying, “O, Christmas tree.”
“It’s never been an issue here before. So we’re not set up for irrigation or watering by any means. It wasn’t until later in the summer, about mid-June, we started noticing this is going to be a problem on those. By then, it was too late.”
Because of the rich soil on his land, trees hold moisture well. He still lost about 600 seedlings because of the drought. Now, he’s changing the types he plants to ones that are better suited for dryer weather.
“So we had some difficulty with some varieties with trees that we planted this spring. Those are trees that would be harvesting six to eight years from now. So, but other varieties did really well. Now, going forward, we’re going to be planting more of those varieties next year.”
White pines and firs, and fewer Scotch pine and spruce.
“It is going to be harder on the farmer in the long run because they’re having to make up for the losses of those smaller seedlings,” said Rachel Wandrei, Marketing Manager for Minnesota Grown at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
A seedling can cost anywhere between one and two dollars. If you break that down, that’s about a $1,200 loss for Enzenauer. Despite some blue this Christmas, things are looking up.
“Even though that it’s been dry, here in October, we had good rains,” Enzenauer added.
“The trees that are here have pretty much rehydrated now. They’re good to go for the year.”
He also says there is no need to worry about if your tree will be too dry. You just need to take care of it and water it as you normally would.