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Water mold leads to Christmas tree shortage

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Dec 03 2013 06:31:34 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 03 2013 06:43:15 PM MST
KALISPELL, Mont. -

If one of your holiday wishes is to have a fresh Christmas tree, you better get your hands on one soon.

Tree farms across the country are reporting large losses due to a water mold.

Around this time of year, Christmas trees usually line the front entrance of Hoopers Greenhouse and Nursery.

"It's something we've been doing for 10 years with a local grower," said Hoopers manager Michael Connolly.

This year, things are different.

"We were not able to get our fresh cut Christmas trees," Connolly said.

Tree farmers they normally work with aren't able to grow their crop this season.

"We've been in a drought for a long time, so they've had insect problems over the last five or six years.  With all the rain we had a couple years ago and the cold weather, we've seen some root rotting diseases that have been attacking the farms," said Connolly.

This isn't the only area that has had a problem. Tree farms across the country have seen a root rotting disease kill much of their crop.

Sales of artificial trees have grown in the last decade, partly because of the disease, which is now leading to a decrease in fresh cut tree sales.

"Over the last few years I think the sales have gone down a little bit on it," said Connolly.

Connolly says they aren't giving up on selling Christmas trees and he hopes to have them back at Hoopers next year.

While tree farmers may be seeing a loss, there are still ways to get a tree. Most national forests are issuing Christmas tree cutting permits. You can check with your local National Forest Service office for details.