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Drought challenged Christmas tree farmers, but there are still live Oklahoma-grown trees

At least eight Christmas tree farms closed in the wake of last year's drought and others have no trees to sell. But those that irrigate say it saved their crop.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: December 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm •  Published: December 8, 2012

He grows mostly Virgina pine trees and imports precut Frasier firs for his farm, which is open weekends starting in late November. The farm is a secondary income source for his family, supplementing retirement.

Branching out

Like Sorghum Mill Christmas Tree and Blackberry Farm, which grows blackberries and landscape trees, Frontier Christmas Tree and Pumpkin Farm in Kingfisher has found ways to generate revenue outside the Christmas season. Owner Scott Dallas said when he opened last year, he decided having a pumpkin patch in September and October was a good fit for his business.

Dallas, an Oklahoma City fire investigator, said he and his wife, Kerryann, are looking into ways to keep customers at the farm year-round by hosting outdoor weddings and other events.

Now, about a third of the business' sales are from Christmas trees, although this year all it offers is precut imports. Dallas said they lost 80 percent of their trees last year in the drought, and the few that were ready to cut have been bought by customers. But this year's weather has been better.

“We had a spring rain, so the roots were able to take hold. It made a big difference,” Dallas said.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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