Tree Drought

By: Donald Robinson
By: Donald Robinson

Signs of the holiday are already in many valley stores and as Christmas creeps up on us, valley tree farmers worry about their crop because of the drought.

"I like to go out and cut those trees and get the smell of the fresh tree in my house," said Barbara Gough.

Gough has been buying live Christmas trees for more than fifteen years and she says it's a part of her life.

"It brings back memories of my childhood," said Gough. "The smells of Christmas, the baking, the cookies and just the Christmas memories of childhood."

Bill Francisco is the owner of Francisco Farm. He's been in the business for 30 years. He says longevity is key when it comes to the drought and most of the older Christmas trees are doing fine.

"Seven to eight year old trees which are the marketable size trees have deeper roots," said Francisco, "they are not affected by the drought as much, except for rate of growth and color."

Francisco says even though his older trees are doing well, he has lost all his celandines he planted for 2002. That will affect him in a few years.

Francisco says he expects to do well this Christmas and if you are looking for a tree.

"If someone is shopping for a Christmas tree on a farm," said Francisco, they want to look for a tree with good color, height and the shape they want. If they are buying it on a retail lot, they want to make sure the needles don't break and that they are pliable."

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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