Christmas trees in jeopardy due to extreme heat, planted trees struggling to survive
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
The extreme heat Oregon has experienced in recent summers is
taking a toll on the Christmas tree farming industry.
According to Oregon State University professor and Christmas
tree farm owner, Chal Landgren, Oregon produces 5.2 million
Christmas trees each year; more than any other state in the
Landgren said these past three years have been particularly
harsh, the worst he remembers in his more than 30 years in the
"We're going to have a real shortage of trees," he said.
Landgren produces Turkish, Noble and Nordman trees at his farm.
But, he said these days many of his seedlings are struggling to
Last year alone, he lost 90 percent of the trees he planted.
And even those that survive, suffer discoloration that can make
them harder to sell.
Landgren told FOX 12, despite their rust-colored pine needles,
the trees can be nursed back to health. However, it may take a
while. And, according to Landgren, weak trees attract more insects
that can kill them before they ever have a chance to recover.
Tree farmers like Landgren are doing all they can to save their
harvests, even using irrigation. Until recently, most tree farming
was done without it.
"Out here we've been trying to haul water to the trees,"
Landgren said. "We can water about half an acre in a day."
With five acres of land, his work is seemingly endless. So,
Landgren is using his background as a forester and researcher to
help save his beloved trees.
Landgren is experimenting with ways to provide shade and cool
his seedlings. He puts a small temperature sensor on each one.
The data the sensors collect is used to determine which method
best cools the trees. But, his experiments are not always
successful and the worst part of the season has not even begun.
"The real test will be at the end of August…we'll see whether
all this work is worth it."
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Thursday, July 26, 2018