Warm weather creates problems for Christmas tree growers in San Diego

Costs climb because of drought, extreme heat
Posted at 11:27 AM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 14:48:17-05

EL CAJON (KGTV): Christmas season is always busy at Family Christmas Tree Farms in El Cajon. But this year, they've been busy for months, trying to save their crop.

Excessive heat and drought in the summer, combined with an unusually warm fall, had a significant impact on their Monterrey Pines.

During July and August, when temperatures reached 100 degrees, the farm doubled the amount of water it gave the trees.

Meanwhile, warm weather in the fall kept the trees growing longer than usual. That meant they needed more maintenance than previous years.

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Manager Tyler Stokes says all the extra work and water has forced the company to raise prices, by a few dollars per tree.

"This is probably the most significant season we've had in terms of extra time and effort we're putting into the trees," he says.

It's not just San Diego. Stokes says the prices on the trees they buy from the Northwest are also more expensive. That's because areas of Washington and Oregon also had unusually warm years.

Fortunately, he says, the trees handled the heat well, and they didn't lose any of the crops. Family Christmas Tree Farms will still open as scheduled, the day after Thanksgiving.

"It's a San Diego Christmas out here," says Stokes.