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Drought hurting Christmas tree growth in North Alabama

Recent drought is sawing into the Christmas tree business. As you head out to buy your tree you might notice they're smaller.

Posted: Nov 26, 2019 4:50 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2019 6:49 PM

Jackson County may be just out of the drought, but Christmas tree shoppers will still see the effects as they head to pick out their perfect holiday tree.

"The size of our trees are not where they should be," said Skyler Ramage, owner of Thornhill Christmas Tree Farm in Pisgah, adding that the drought is hurting trees.

"We should see a foot to 2 feet in a year and we have not been seeing that," said Ramage.

The issues aren't all because of the weather. The 2008 recession caused a shortage of Fraser firs. Farmers just couldn't afford to plant them when the recession hit. Fast-forward 10 years to when those trees would have been ready, and they're extremely tough to find.

"They're harder to get, so if they're harder to get it's going to affect the price....Make them a little higher," said Ramage.

Ramage said this year they're not raising prices. They've seen more business as people start to head back to traditional trees from artificial. He says he's hoping next year the trees will be back on track and ready for ornaments.

"Hopefully we won't be in a drought and the trees will get the growth they are supposed to get," said Ramage.

The Thornhill Christmas Tree Farm has bounced back from Mother Nature before. In 2016, a tornado hit the property taking more than 50 of its trees and the barn.

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