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Texas drought hurting Christmas trees, farmers to import out-of-state

Woody Woodruff of Kadee Tree Farm lost around a thousand trees due to the drought. Thankfully he has 28 acres and an out-of-state shipment coming mid-November.

GREENVILLE, Texas — Christmas tree farms across the state are feeling the effects of the drought. It will ultimately result in a scarcity in product and a bump in prices.

"This has probably been the worst year because of the drought," said Woody Woodruff of Kadee Christmas Tree Farm in Greenville.

Woodruff says their farm lost around a thousand trees because of of it. He told WFAA he's aware of a competitor who lost 90% of their trees.

"There are lots of horror stories on this. It's gonna be a tough five or six years in the Christmas tree industry," Woodruff said.

North Texas is averaging about four to five inches below normal for rain this time of year. While that number may not be a dramatic difference it can be considering the current drought conditions. The August rains definitely helped with drought conditions but not enough to keep the entire state drought-free.

"A good soaking rain like we're getting right now is fantastic. It's going to take several of these events to get us where we should to alleviate the drought conditions," said Steve Fano, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Kadee Farms, like many farms, will have to haul trees from the Carolinas and Michigan and the Pacific Northwest. Those shipments won't arrive until mid-November. But, it's not just about losing trees, the drought has also affected the health of trees. Woodruff tells us sick trees are susceptible to outside factors like the pine beetle.

To grow these Christmas trees it takes about four or five years to get a 5-foot Christmas tree," Woodruff said.

But still, to have healthy trees, that will still require some help from Mother Nature and a reversal in how much rain we get.

"I know it's all about timing, it's not just about amounts [of rain]," said Fano.

The drought will translate to some higher prices because farmers have to pay for increased fertilizer and irrigation costs. On top of that, the cost of diesel to import trees will likely play a huge factor as well.

"Start early and find you a good Christmas tree farm with some inventory," said Woodruff.

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