Updated: 09/12/2013 11:21 PM
Created: 09/12/2013 6:30 PM KSTP.com
By: Naomi Pescovitz
Christmas is months away, but the folks who grow Minnesota's Christmas trees are working overtime. The hot, dry weather is making for a tough season.
The sun was shining at B&J Evergreen in Clear Lake Thursday. There was dust on the ground, but Christmas is always on the mind. "If we don't have these trees we won't have Christmas trees," said water technician Matt Paul.
B&J Evergreen is home to 180,000 Christmas trees. The little ones take about 10 years to mature. It is also the smallest trees that are now in need of close watch and care.
"With as much dry heat as we've had so far this year, and not a lot of rain, this is about the only thing we can do to keep it going," Paul said while watering one-year-old trees.
"We want to see the fruits of our labors come alive here. We've spent all spring and when you walk out and when you see a wilted tree, it's very disheartening, because you know all of the planning and effort that went into getting that tree here and that tree's not going to make it to somebody's home," said Trent Johnson, Owner of B&J Evergreen.
The season's drought has caused about 15 percent loss across the farm, plus thousands in added watering costs.
"We've had somebody watering, sometimes around the clock, most of the time 18 hours a day, and alternating schedules, 7 days a week," Johnson said.
Johnson says if fall is dry too, big mature trees may not reach their full potential either.
"They might not have gotten to be as tall. And where that can also have an impact is next year because a grower might need to take in all his height this year and not have as much next year. So it can have an impact on the supply of the height," Johnson said.
Other trees are also feeling the heat, including landscape trees like maples, spruces and pines.
"All tree-growers, without moisture, we need everybody to do the rain dance," Johnson said.