Tree Farmers Suffer Losses

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ORWIGSBURG -- Some Christmas tree farmers in our area are finding dead trees in their fields.

Newswatch 16 found out why it's happening and what it will mean to supplies during the holiday season.

Dave Kreamer has been a tree farmer near Cressona for more than 40 years. It pains him to cut young Christmas trees but they're dead. Kreamer blames the dry conditions and the heat of summer.

"They are first to succumb to the drought weather, where a bigger tree has bigger roots to find some water to survive." Kreamer said.

In the fields of Bill Featherolf there is a similar situation: 800 young trees brown, most of them dead. Featherolf said the dead trees were out of his control.

"We actually put a preservative on the roots, which will get them through a short-term drought but we get the combination of this, we did all the man-made things with the trees you sort of roll with the punches."

But there is an upside for the Christmas trees that survived at Pioneer Evergreen farms near Orwigsburg.  Featherolf said the trees should retain their needles longer once they're cut and placed inside.

"A living room with 72 degrees and very low humidity is stressful for a tree, a real tree, but because they have already been stressed, it should be an excellent Christmas season," said Featherolf.

Back at the Kreamer farm,  Dave Kreamer said a stretch of rainy days could trigger another killer.

"They flood and they drown especially, the Fraser Fir. They do like water but they can't have their roots laying in water," said Kreamer.

Tree growers say it varies from farm to farm what the supply will be this holiday season. Overall, they say the Christmas tree supply should be good.