Will summer drought impact winter Christmas tree selection?

Posted at 4:09 PM, Aug 01, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-01 16:12:24-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The summer drought may have an impact on future Christmas tree selection nationwide, but the impact won’t be felt here in Virginia.

Wisconsin tree farmer Larry Johnson said he planted around 2,000 trees this year. He said a crop that size would normally net a harvest of about 1,000 trees, but added that won’t be the case this year.

“Right now, this year I just did a survey and 80 percent of the trees we harvested were dead on the survey area, and I think it’s worse in some areas,” Johnson said.

Virginia tree farmer and Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association board member Jocelyn Lampert said this summer’s weather has not negatively impacted her Culpeper-area Christmas tree farm. She said she normally plants between 800 and 1,000 trees at her Crazy Joe’s Christmas Tree Farm and loses around 10 percent of her crop. She said this year will be no different. She added most Virginia farmers planted their crop in March to take advantage of spring rain. She said it rained at her farm when she needed it to this summer.

Greg Miller reported a similar story at his Willow Springs Tree Farms in Radford. He said Virginia has been “blessed” compared to farms in the Midwest.

He added any trees damaged by drought conditions this summer would not have gone to market for another six to eight years. Virginia farms grow about 500,000 trees a year, eighth most in the nation.