Wet Weather Has OK Christmas Tree Farms Booming

Wednesday, October 30th 2013, 4:41 pm
By: News 9

Christmas trees farms in Central and Eastern Oklahoma have seen a major change in conditions compared to the past three years.

The amount of moisture so far this year, already making it one of the wettest Oklahoma has ever had, basically erased a year of losses. At the Martinbird Tree Farm, owner Bob Martin said this has been a record year for growth.

Martin said that unfortunately for some farms around Central Oklahoma, the three years of drought wiped out their entire crop and forced the owners to shut down Christmas tree growing operations for good.

Martinbird Tree Farms is just four weeks and two days from Christmas tree season. Martin and his team have been busy mowing paths around the bases of the tree as well as measuring, pricing and tagging the trees.

"If you look at all the seedlings, you don't see any brown, any dead. Oh maybe one percent," said Martin.

It has been a complete turn-around from last year, when Martin walked through acres of dead Christmas tree seedlings. He lost almost everything he planted.

"Last year it was about a three percent survival rate. In fact, the last three years it has really been tough."

This year Martin saw 98% of the seedlings survive. He showed several seedlings that have doubled in size, making up a year of lost growth. Martin explained that the first year of a Christmas tree's life is the most important. If they survive, they will usually be fine. That was not the case during the last three seasons. Even some of the trees that stood above four feet dried up and died in the drought.

While the newest seedling will not be ready for this Christmas season, Martin said they symbol job security for the guys who work on his farm.

"We should be here another 10 to 15 years just on the amount of rainfall, you know, that we've had this year," said Martin.

He added that another year like 2013 would probably be enough to fully make up the losses he and other tree farmers suffered during the last three years. In addition to the boost in his Christmas tree crop, Martin said all tree farmers have seen an increase in what they have planted because of the rain.

Martinbird Tree Farms opens for Christmas tree sales the day after Thanksgiving and they sell the Christmas trees until Christmas Eve.