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Drought Taking Toll On Oklahoma Christmas Tree Growers

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TUTTLE, Oklahoma -

Persistent drought across Oklahoma has wreaked havoc on Christmas tree farmers for two years in a row.

Last year, farmers in central Oklahoma said they lost virtually all of the newly planted seedlings. This year it has not been as bad, but the amount of trees lost is noticeable.

At Martinbird Christmas Tree Farm, Bob Martin spent the morning surveying his 20 acres of Christmas trees. He took in the damage caused by the recent drought conditions. The last two years were the worst of his 25 years in business

"He's not going to make it. Nope, he bit the dust," said Martin. "Everyone lost trees last year and people are still losing trees this year, as well. We lost not nearly as many of the big trees. It's the smaller ones. It's those one, two and three footers."

Martin explained that could cause a huge problem if drought conditions continue killing seedlings in the next couple of years.

"Down the road it's going to mean that probably four, five, six years, there are not going to be as many trees that they can go in the field and cut so it will have an affect down the road."

That would mean less trees to choose from and the possibility of lower sales. But hunting for the perfect Christmas tree has been a tradition for many families and the Martins made sure there was a selection available for their customers.

"What we're doing of course is trying to compensate for that so many of the tree-growers are bringing in trees. All the choose and cut people have brought in trees from Oregon and North Carolina."

Of course, the cost of shipping those trees in to the far adds to the price of the pre-cut trees, so customers may end up spending a little more out of pocket for the tree they want.

Locate Christmas trees at National Christmas Tree Association website.

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