East Texas Christmas tree farmers protecting trees from drought - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas Christmas tree farmers protecting trees from drought

CANTON, TX (KLTV) - One of the unfortunate side effects of getting such little rain over the summer is affecting one of many families' favorite Christmas traditions -- getting a live Christmas tree.

"Well we had a really tough summer, record drought, and we've never had problems in the past with losing trees, but what we did is we drug hoses. We literally put sprinklers on large tripods and moved the sprinklers around the farm, and it was an all-day long, into-the-night kind of watering system," said Kama Bozeman, owner of Yesterland Farm in Canton.

But it wasn't the large trees you're buying this year that were really affected by the drought.

"With the young seedlings that were planted in January, we had a near total of loss on those. But, we'll replant them again in January," said Greg Sowell, owner of Alazan Christmas Tree Farm in Nacogdoches:

Sowell says the first year is the most crucial year for a Christmas tree to grow.

But the true effects on the Christmas business will be felt years from now.

"We're going to not have any trees four or five years from now," said Sowell.

Both Sowell and Bozeman say they will install irrigation systems this year to help next year's seedlings take root and help prevent the losses they had this year.

"We feel like we will be able to make up the difference this year. Also, purchasing larger trees to start out with and plant more mature trees to start with, and that'll help to make up that difference, to make every spot count," Bozeman said.

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