Christmas tree farms experience lasting effects of bad weather in the South
Christmas Tree farms say chilly temperatures help their business ... because it puts people in the Christmas spirit.
When it comes to Christmas trees, Ricky Kittle can tell you anything you need to know.
"It's not just plant the tree and watch it grow," he said.
Kittle's family opened this farm in 1978.
"There wasn't anybody around to learn things from," he said.
It's been trial and error since then. He says he's dealt with dry weather, but nothing compares to the drought we're in now.
"This has probably been the worst one," he said.
Normally, trees need to mature for about 6 years before they're ready to be taken home.
NewsChannel 9's Sky Cam shows gaps where Christmas trees shriveled up
"As you can see we have some that we've lost because of the dry weather," Kittle said.
The growth of the trees that are still alive has been stunted because of the lack of water.
"You'll see some short ones and some tall ones. It's just like children, they grow at different speeds," he said.
A lot of the parched trees that died this year have been ready to sell next season.
Now, the Kittle family is hoping for enough rain to grow the deep roots the family has put down on the land.
"We'll replant this year for 5 years down the road," Kittle said.
One Christmas tree stand off of Dayton Pike, sits in the field where the fire department's command center was for weeks while crews battled flames on Walden's Ridge. The owner says they had to wait to set up her stand because of that.
The owner of that stand says her family brings trees to sell in Soddy Daisy from Boone North Carolina.
She says the drought has affected how many trees they're able to get this year and the quality of them.