Christmas Tree Growers Cope With Drought

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

As drought conditions persist across Kansas, many people may be worried about the availability of Christmas trees.

Picking out a live Christmas tree is a holiday tradition for many families. Luckily, tree farmers say there is no need to worry.

Glenn and Celia Goering have planted their first trees at Pine Lake Christmas Tree Farm near Derby in 1978. The have been selling trees every Christmas since 1984.

"We always see a lot of happy people during the late November, early to mid-December time," she said.

Goering does not expect the ongoing drought to cause that to change. There is no shortage of trees at the farm.

"It's been very dry for the past two years," Celia said. "However, we have used a drip irrigation system that has enabled us to offer some very pretty trees to customers this year."

Those customers include Braedon Norris and Craig and Jackson May. They come to Pine Lake Christmas Tree Farm every year to pick out their family's Christmas tree. While they may be young, they are experienced. They have developed some pretty specific criteria and know exactly what they want.

"Super big," said Jackson when asked what he looks for in a tree.

Braedon agreed the bigger the tree, the better.

Craig pointed out the tree cannot be too big.

"It has to be the size about to our roof or a little lower," he said.

The tradition extends beyond the families who buy trees at Pine Lake year after year. There is plenty of tradition on the production side as well.

"It's a good tradition," said John Doerksen, the Goering's grandson. "The whole family always gets involved. Grandparents, my parents, my sister, cousins; just anyone helps out whenever."

That is a tradition John, a current high school student, wants to continue even after his grandparents decide to slow down. He has come to enjoy the payoff of the year-round work of growing Christmas trees.

"Seeing the little kids and seeing how happy it makes them; just to be here in that environment," he said of what he likes most about the farm. "They always look happy to be here."

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