Harsh summer closes Christmas tree farm for 2023 season

Courtesy of Christmas Town Christmas Tree Farm

The summer’s extreme heat and drought forced a Christmas tree farm in Kentwood to close for the holiday season. Still, industry leaders are confident other Louisiana farms will provide the desired holiday experience.

Last week, Christmas Town Christmas Tree Farm said in a social media post that the farm would not be open for Christmas 2023, an announcement accompanied by photos of fields filled with brown, dying pine trees.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience, but Mother Nature did not do us any favors this year,” the post said. “Please check back with us next year. We thank you for your continued support.”

Yawn Station Christmas Tree Farm in Independence isn’t closing for the season, but they have also been affected.

“We’ve still got a lot of nice trees that didn’t get affected by the weather,” said a representative with the tree farm. “Some of them are still putting on growth, but we did lose some. We’ve lost small trees that we planted a little bit too late this year. We need to plant by March, typically. Anything that we planted after that, we didn’t have much luck with, but we planted back in November, and those trees look good.”

“There’s so many variables that can affect Christmas trees, so it’s hard to say exactly what happened,” she added. “We lost two rows of trees in the front, but on either side of them, the trees are fine. That’s not the main field that we grow in. In our main fields, we lost trees in sporadic areas. It’s tough to guess what affected us.”

LSU AgCenter agent Dr. Valerie West said she didn’t know what happened to the farm in Kentwood, but people have expressed concern about the state of Christmas tree farming in Louisiana, but she said they shouldn’t be worried.

Courtesy of Christmas Town Christmas Tree Farm

“With the drought, we have a slight decline in productivity, so you’ll lose some plants,” she said. “Our Christmas tree growers have lost a few trees, but we’ve only got one farm that we know of in the entire state that had such a big problem that they’re actually closing for the season.”

West said she reached out to several Christmas tree producers who are still set to open this holiday season.

“They’ll still have Christmas trees when the Christmas tree time comes around,” she said. “They’re looking forward to having people come to their farms, and they don’t want them to think that they’re going to be closed just because one farm in Louisiana is closing.”

West said the best thing for people interested in getting real trees to do is contact the local farms. She said even if some are closed, there are plenty in the state to provide those memories for Louisiana families.

Courtesy of Christmas Town Christmas Tree Farm

“Even if their farm that they go to usually is closed, there’s someone just up the road, 15, 20 or 30 minutes,” she said. “It’s worth the drive for the experience and the memories and to get a real Christmas tree and just have those memories to cherish with their families, as opposed to just going into the store and getting a fake tree that isn’t good for the environment and is not a sustainable option.”

“We’re still promoting our Christmas tree growers,” she added. “We’ve got hundreds of them around the state. If their people are going to be closed, somebody else in the area can definitely be a choice destination for their holiday experience.”

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