Christmas Tree Troubles After Summer Drought

'Tis the season to find the perfect tree, but the drought over the summer is making it tougher for some Massachusetts farmers this Christmas.

The lack of water is ruining what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year for business at Abbott Tree Farm in Charlton.

"I would say roughly a third of the seedlings didn't survive that I planted this spring," owner Curtis Abbott said.


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Along with the seedlings, Abbott said the more mature trees did not grow enough, limiting their supply of 7-foot trees that tend to be the most desirable.

The severe drought had such a significant impact on his crop, Abbott Tree Farm is not opening at all this year.

"We have some families that come every year and it's kind of sad to disappoint them, but financially it didn't make sense," Abbott said.

It is a similar story at Texas Tree Farm in Charlton where they also lost seedlings, but they have enough mature trees to stay open.

Owner Nick Graham is also subsidizing what he lost with trees from other farms that fared better.

Graham is a member of the Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association, who said farmers across the state are feeling the impact, but farms in Central and Western Massachusetts were especially hard hit.

Most farmers said their plan was to make it up by planting more seedlings next year, but they worry about what this could mean for Christmases to come if the drought continues.

"If we have a couple more years of this drought, in 10 years, we're going to have a stretch where we don't have enough trees to sell and it could put us out of business," Graham said.

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