Hundreds of Christmas Trees Die As Drought Drags On

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Florida could be getting rain for the first time in a long time.  The drought we’re seeing now in the Sunshine State is causing problems for a farm out in Milton responsible for a staple to many holiday celebrations.  With thousands of Christmas trees getting the ax, Whispering Pines Christmas Tree Farm is now having to travel out of state to meet holiday needs.

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Monday was windy in Santa Rosa County.  Down a dirt road, you should see pine limbs blowing.

“Trees that we lose this year that are smaller will affect the future sales,” said Mike Kelly, who owns the farm with his wife.

The unusual drought in Florida right now, because of our location in the Panhandle, is killing Christmas trees by the hundreds.

“it just hurts all the way around to get the farm looking good,” Kelly said.  “Roundup doesn’t work like its supposed to because you don’t have enough moisture in the soil.”

Just a few months ago, the field was thick and green with trees.  Now, the drought has left blank space in the field.

“Just for the fact that we’ve had less than a quarter-inch of rain in the last eight weeks means, bit by bit, we’ve gone from dry to moderate drought to extreme drought, so steadily it’s just getting worse,” said Chief Meteorologist Alan Sealls.

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“Our longest stretch of dry weather is basically centered on October which is our dryest stretch of the year,” Sealls continued.  “But the fact that it included September and now November makes it that much more unusual.”

With the number of trees lost, a little rain now could go a long way.

“The ones that have already died are gone,” Kelly said.  “But the ones that are stressed right now on the verge of dying, it’ll bring them back, it’ll make next season that much better.”

The family that owns Whispering Pines headed to North Carolina to get more trees for the farm.  They’re open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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