Midwest drought boosts Ore. tree growers

Midwest drought boosts Ore. tree growers

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by Keely Chalmers

Bio | Email | Follow: @KeelyChalmers

kgw.com

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 4:59 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 9 at 4:59 AM

PORTLAND - Craig Lee has been growing Christmas trees at his farm in Tualatin for about 35 years and this year, he says the weather has been in his favor.

“We had a couple hot days … now if we had a week of those hot days it can sunburn the needles and so we don’t have any of that,” explained Lee.

Owner of Lee Farms, one of the biggest "You-cut" lots in the state, he sells about 4,000 trees every year. Currently he does mostly retail sales.

But with the drought in the Midwest devastating newly planted Christmas tree crops there Lee says, in the next few years, he'll likely move into the wholesale market.

“As far as the market, it’s going to drive the price up and that’s good for us… I think it will be a bit of a boon for Oregon Christmas trees and Oregon growers,” Lee said.

Since the drought is only affecting the younger trees, it will likely be a few years before there’s a big shortage.

However, Lee says the drought will take its toll on another holiday staple this year.

“I think it’s going to really affect the pumpkins ... there's going to be a big shortage of pumpkins so expect to pay a little more for your pumpkins this year,” he said.

Lee assures, he'll still have plenty of holiday pumpkins for the locals, but he recommends, in the years to come, you pick and tag your Christmas tree a bit earlier.

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