Weather challenges tree farmers when growing, selling Christmas trees

Weather challenges tree farmers when growing, selling Christmas trees
Mike Meyer (Source: Jeff Knight, WAVE 3 News)
Mike Meyer (Source: Jeff Knight, WAVE 3 News)

BORDEN, IN (WAVE) - While artificial Christmas trees are becoming more popular than live ones, tree farmers believe tradition is winning as many families still trek out to cut down their own tree.

One such tree farmer is Mike Meyer of Meyer Christmas Tree Farm in Borden, Indiana. Meyer has rows and rows of Christmas trees -- 10,000 trees, in fact. All of them have been raised by Meyer and his staff since 1977. They enjoy growing the trees, but the weather becomes their biggest obstacle, especially rainfall.

"Without water, the plants cannot survive," said Meyer, "and it has to be at the right time. In the winter, they are not growing very much. In August, we have droughts, so it is critical."

We have had some tough weather years since 2010 with record heat and little in the way of rainfall in 2012. This year has been a cool one with decent rainfall, but too much can be a bad thing.

"That causes fungi to grow," said Meyer. "Fungi love this wet warm weather. Most of your plant diseases are fungi."

"A lot of the trees lost a lot of their lower needles because of that fungal disease," Meyer added. "We can probably get that back, but that hurt us some this year."

Overall, it is a good crop this year; however, the weather influence doesn't stop with growing the trees. It continues when trying to sell them.

"We'll sell half of our trees the first two weekends right after Thanksgiving," said Meyer. "If it rains on one of those, your year is going to be down."

Meyer hopes drier weather this weekend will allow them to make up from recent wet weather.

"It gets to be a lot of work, but we enjoy it," said Meyer.

Meyer suggested consumers avoid spruce trees as they have a shorter lifespan compared to other evergreens.

Also, if you do cut down your tree, it would be best to cut the trunk one more time once you arrive home because the root system can seal up, preventing water from being absorbed.

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