Christmas tree sales strong so far; future crops hurt by drought

Christmas tree sales strong so far; future crops hurt by drought

Posted:
"I don't think I need to look any further. It's perfect," said one Christmas tree customer at Chucky's Tree Farm in Fountain City. "I don't think I need to look any further. It's perfect," said one Christmas tree customer at Chucky's Tree Farm in Fountain City.
Charles Rader has been selling Christmas trees from the same location on Broadway for 18 years. He opened on Thanksgiving and said sales are up just a little from last year. Charles Rader has been selling Christmas trees from the same location on Broadway for 18 years. He opened on Thanksgiving and said sales are up just a little from last year.
"It doesn't bother the bigger ones, but the seedlings, the ones we put in the ground this year, we've probably lost 70% of them," said Leo Collins of Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm. "It doesn't bother the bigger ones, but the seedlings, the ones we put in the ground this year, we've probably lost 70% of them," said Leo Collins of Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It is that time again to load up the kids and find that perfect Christmas tree.

Many businesses started selling trees on Thanksgiving Day.

"This one's beautiful," said a customer at Chucky's Tree Farm in Fountain City. "I don't think I need to look any further. It's perfect."

Charles Rader has been selling Christmas trees from the same location on Broadway for 18 years. He opened on Thanksgiving and said sales are up just a little from last year.

"It will get better as we get closer and closer to Christmas," said Rader.

The recent dry weather has caused some problems for Tennessee Christmas tree farmers, but not at Rader's lot, where all of his trees are shipped from North Carolina.

Not everyone has been so lucky.

"There is like four missing there, seven or eight missing there," said Leo Collins, the owner of Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm in Anderson County, pointing out all of the seedlings he planted that died.

Collins said the dry weather has been brutal.

"It doesn't bother the bigger ones, but the seedlings, the ones we put in the ground this year, we've probably lost 70% of them," said Collins.

Even though this loss will not be felt this year, they will see the impact in the future.

"Those trees would have matured in eight years, almost exactly eight years, so eight years from now we'll be lower than we want to be," said Collins.

Collins said the farm had a record year for sales in 2011, and despite 2012's dry weather, he expects the sale of his trees to remain high.

Both men get Frasier firs shipped in from North Carolina. That type of tree cannot grow in Tennessee because it needs a higher altitude to survive.

Collins said 50% of his business comes from pre-cut trees from North Carolina.

They said two weeks before Christmas is usually when they hit their peak in sales.

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