Drought affects Christmas tree growers

By: Melina Matthes
mmatthes@klkntv.com

Right now you may be thinking pumpkins and Halloween. But this drought has Christmas tree farmers looking ahead to their season and the “scary” lack of green.

Last year Spilker's Pineridge tree farms sold 1100 trees, this year they only plan to have about 800, but it's down the road that they worry about.

Canaan fir, Douglas fir, White Spruce, White Pine, Scotch Pine, whatever you're looking for Spilker's Pineridge tree farm has them all.

“The Fraiser is the Cadillac of the Christmas trees. They're so nice and soft you could squeeze it and never gonna get stuck with it,” Owner Don Spilker said.

But the Spilker's are battling mother nature. Last year they fought flooding, this year drought.

“We lost most of our planting last year, now this year's just the opposite. We run into it being terribly dry and terribly hot,” Spilker said.

In just a few years they won't have hardly any trees. The Spilker's planted 1650 trees in this field earlier in the year, however they expect only 6% to survive, which means in about 8 to 10 years the Spilker's will only have about 100 trees and they'll have to order hundreds from other states.

“I'm hoping that this tree now that we're starting to come into cooler weather that this tree will survive,” Spilker said.

“Only this tree on the end that's alive otherwise the whole row is dead, everything's basically gotta be pretty well right to make trees grow,” Spilker said.

If you're looking for a fresh Christmas tree this holiday season, don't worry, Spilker's Pineridge tree farm has approximately 800 trees available, including the Scotch pine and the Canaan fir.