Boonville Christmas Tree Farm Prospers Despite Drought

6 years 7 months 2 weeks ago Monday, December 03 2012 Dec 3, 2012 Monday, December 03, 2012 12:13:00 PM CST December 03, 2012 in News
By: Alexandra Pierce

BOONVILLE - The abnormally warm weather has many people feeling like it's going to be Christmas in July.  But this strange start to the holiday season isn't getting in the way of one mid-Missouri Christmas business.

Wayne and Ann Harmon have been growing Christmas trees at Starr Pines Farm in Boonville for 26 years.  Their business has grown into a 200-acre Christmas tree plantation that grows thousands of trees for customers to cut down each year.

While the effects of the drought were far reaching, Starr Pines only had to make a few adjustments to ensure their trees survived.

"One reason we were able to withstand weather conditions is that we plant thousands of trees so no matter what happens were always going to have trees to offer to everyone," Wayne Harmon said.

This was also the first year that Starr Pines had to dig their own well for an irrigation system.

"We anticipated the drought, we started watering in May and didn't stop until September," Harmon said.

And they aren't taking any chances for next years season.

"We're ordering larger seedlings to make up for those that we did lose this year, that way when they go out they'll be at the height they would have been," Harmon said.

But not all tree farmers were able to survive the drought.

Jamie Coe has been growing Christmas trees as a hobby at his home just south of Fulton for the past 25 years.  But after the drought killed many of his trees he decided it's time to retire.

"My small trees really took a hit.  Most all of my one and two-year-olds died and a lot of my three-year-old trees died and even some of my larger trees bit the dust," Coe said.

He thinks the main reason his trees couldn't survive was the fact that he couldn't irrogate. 

Coe says he's happy to sell any trees that are still on his land this year.  But for anyone looking for a place to find their perfect pine there are numerous tree farms across mid-Missouri that are still open.

A full list of tree farms can be found at the Missouri Christmas Tree Association's website.

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