Drought affects Lee Co. Christmas tree farmer

Drought affects Lee Co. Christmas tree farmer Drought affects Lee Co. Christmas tree farmer

LEE COUNTY, GA - South Georgia peanut, cotton and corn farmers aren't the only ones having trouble in this drought.

The dry weather is killing Christmas trees.

"I've been growing trees out here since 1983 and I've never seen it this dry," said Busy Elves Christmas Tree Farm Owner Joedy Putnal

Putnal's Christmas tree lot has succumbed to this summer's drought, leaving many of his trees in bad shape for the upcoming holiday season.

"This tree was planted in December 2011. That tree would probably be up here if I had water," said Putnal.

The pond on his property that once ran over just three years ago now looks like a puddle.

Putnal told me irrigation on his land is out of the question.

"I cannot afford to water these trees. If I put a sprinkler out here to water these trees, what would I have to sell them for? People couldn't afford them," said Putnal.

It's some trees out here that won't be ready in December and Putnal says that affects his bottom line, but he refuses to sell a bad tree to a customer.

He says all he can do now is wait for Mother Nature to open up and pour on his dry, unforgiving soil.

"The answer is just be patient and realize the Lord will take care of us, one way or another," said Putnal.

He would like to see a break because he says he can already hear Santa's sleigh bells ringing.

Putnal says when you buy a tree from anywhere, you need to check the needles. If they're brittle and falling off, you may be dealing with a tree that's dried out because of the drought.

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