Drought leaves Texas Christmas tree farms scarce

Drought leaves Texas Christmas tree farms scarce

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

In this photo taken Nov. 8, 2011, David Barfield checks a dying tree at his Christmas tree farm in New Caney, Texas. This year's historic drought has killed thousands of trees on Barfield�s farm and across Texas and Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

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Associated Press

Posted on November 25, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 1:26 PM

NEW CANEY, Texas (AP) -- A devastating drought in the Southwest has killed thousands of Christmas trees in Texas and Oklahoma, leaving many farmers with little to offer holiday shoppers.

Many trees died of thirst. Hundreds of others burned in wildfires. Most farmers say nearly all their youngest trees died, meaning the drought's effect will still be felt five years from now, when the saplings would have reached maturity.

Some farmers are importing trees from North Carolina. Others are resigned to selling fewer trees. Some have shutdown.

And despite their losses, most say they can't raise prices in the weak economy to make up the difference.

Trees will still sell for $40 to $50, but families hoping for a homegrown evergreen to cut down will have a harder time finding one.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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