Drought conditions could impact Minnesota Christmas trees for years to come

The drought hitting Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest for the last several months has started to take a toll on Christmas tree farms.

"This year's weather, we're about eight to ten inches below normal rainfall, which of course, has an impact on the trees," John Krueger, the third-generation owner of The Krueger Christmas Tree Farm in Lake Elmo, told FOX 9

Krueger, who is also president of the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association, said the lack of rain over the last two years has stunted the tree's growth by about one foot. But the largest impact will be seen in trees planted this year and last year because the early years are some of the most important for a tree's growth. 

"That's harder on the trees, so we've had to change how we grow them," Krueger explained. "We've done a lot of wood chipping and mulching to make sure the moisture in the soil stays consistent."

It takes eight years to grow a tree, and farmers shoot for a consistent rainfall of about one inch per week. But in the last few years, many farmers have had to rely on emergency irrigation.

"With the lack of rainfall, the trees just haven't grown quite as much, but they're still looking quite good this year," Krueger said

The Krueger Christmas Tree Farm opens to reservations on Nov. 17