Weather impacts local Christmas tree farms

Christmas trees in short supply

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Christmas tree farms like Nana and Pap’s outside of Felicity, Ohio may only be open for a couple of weeks, but it’s a year-round job just to make sure the trees are ready to cut down around the holidays.

Tim Broadwell is a 6th generation farmer at Nana and Pap’s.

“Of course I’m an older guy and don’t work as hard or as long as I did in the past,” Broadwell explained. “But I work 15-20 hours a week year-round, and then at planting time and at shearing time it’s pretty much a full-time job,”

The farmland was used as a tobacco farm since 1833. In 2001, Broadwell and his family began planting Christmas trees.

Each year the supply varies depending on weather, tree fungus or other diseases, and other factors.

Broadwell says the Cannan furs are their most popular tree.

“The seed source originated in the Cannan Valley in West Virginia," Broadwell said, "and they’re the only kind of fur that we can in our southern Ohio climate.”

This past spring when the seedlings were planted, a lengthy period of warm weather killed more than 600 of Broadwell's seedlings.

That means in seven or eight years, his supply of ready-to-be-cut trees will be lower. Trees grow at a rate of about one foot a year.

Broadwell already has more than 1000 seedlings ordered to plant next spring.

But each year the farm struggles to keep up with the large customer base this family farm attracts.

“Each year we plant more and more seedlings so eventually we hope to catch up,” Broadwell explained. “But the business has grown by leaps and bounds as well, more than we anticipated, and we’re always in short supply.”

After just one weekend of strong sales, Broadwell says they may be done for the season.

“When I count the number of these [six foot trees] I have left I want to make sure I’ve got a couple hundred or even more because I want the business to grow," Broadwell said. "So I need to decide if I should shut the business down to give these guys a chance to grow up, or go ahead and try to provide a few more trees to the customers this year.”

To find a list of other local tree farms, click here.

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