Christmas tree farmers struggle with drought

Christmas tree farms are feeling the effects of Minnesota’s drought as the holiday season rolls around.

The latest report from the US drought monitor shows nearly the entire state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

Christmas tree farm owners said navigating drought conditions is becoming second nature and Mother Nature is affecting their bottom line.

“This is a bad drought because these trees are five, six feet tall and they’re still dying. Normally once they get that tall, they don’t die,” Ken Kunzer, Kunzer Tree Farm owner, said.

Kunzer’s Tree Farm lost over two dozen trees this holiday season because conditions are too dry.

The Woodbury farm also had to deal with drought conditions last year and Kunzer said he’s still paying for it.

“The trees didn’t grow very well this year. Usually they grow at least a foot each year and some trees hardly grew because of the drought,” he said.

Christmas trees take about 8 to 10 years to mature until they’re ready to be cut down.

Kunzer said the dry soil is a slight setback, but he’s moving forward.

“There’s not much you can really do about it,” he said.

Lucky for photographer Amber Bravo she can bring dead trees to life in post.

“There were some spots where I had to kind of like fix it and stuff like that or crop it out,” Bravo, Amber Bravo photography owner, said. “Usually it’s a lot more colorful.”

Bravo snaps holiday family photos and Christmas tree farms are a popular backdrop.
Fixing the drought is out of their hands, but the solution is simple.

“The soils dry. We need rain,” Kunzer said.

Kunzer’s Tree Farm owner explained there’s still enough healthy trees to go around for customers.