Open Standard Media Player version 1.3
CARLTON - Cutting down your own Christmas tree takes a lot of hard work.
Just ask Ed and Donna Myhre who used a lot of elbow grease getting that perfect pine Thursday morning.
They had a healthy crop to pick from at the Chub Lake Tree Farm in Carlton, even though two summers with little moisture left some little ones looking less-than-perfect.
"You always lose some," owner Jim Whorton said. "Nature does the best it can but it's just impossible to get 100 percent survival."
Some small trees with roots that only extended a few inches into the ground did not make it through the drought.
However, those with deeper roots continued to grow.
June's massive rainfall left enough moisture in the ground for the bigger trees to latch onto.
"The deeper in the soil you go, the higher the water content that is still there," Whorton said.
"We've had like three summers in a row where we didn't have any July and August rain," tree farmer Doug Hoffbauer said.
Hoffbauer explained that the mortality rate of his young seedlings has doubled over the past couple years causing him to plant about a thousand more trees to make up for ones that will die, ultimately putting a dent in his bottom line.
"And so for every one that dies it's a dollar bill out the window and unfortunately that's the reality of the business," Hoffbauer said.
But luckily, each tree grows at its own pace; meaning one bad year of weather will not kill them all off.
However, keeping them healthy requires some hands–on attention.
"A lot of people think all you do is plant the tree wait ten years and harvest it, but there is a tremendous amount of labor involved," Whorton said.
Whorton said the past couple years of drought have been severe, but not quite as bad as a dry spell that hit back in the late 1970's.