CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - It's been an odd year of weather for farmers of all kinds. Most crops are out of the ground by now, but the roller coaster temperatures are throwing off the Christmas tree harvest.
Fisher Trees of Clear Lake announced on its Facebook page that they're putting an abrupt end to their tree selling season because of muddy conditions at their Forest City tree farm, and selling off the remainder of their pre-cut trees. This is the first year they've had to close early due to weather, and it's also the earliest they have ever sold out in the farm's history.
Owner Mark Fisher says it's a problem other growers have been facing, and adds that the mud is deep.
"The farmer that nearly got stuck out there put a trench in the sod about 6-7 inches deep, that I'll get to fix later this spring."
In addition, it comes at a time when some are still looking for the perfect tree, and adds that it's becoming more popular for people to cut their own tree at a farm.
"I think a lot of people recognize, especially the younger people, are spending way too much time on their devices, and need to get outside and do something physically. I think people are starting to recognize that, and as a result, are choosing activities like finding a pumpkin farm like my neighbor, or going to a Christmas tree farm and cut their own Christmas tree."
Fisher hopes that there is a drier year as opposed to one with heavy moisture to help with the trees.
"Evergreen trees can limit their moisture release. They don't dry out quickly, so dry weather is better for evergreen trees than the wet year we've had."
Fisher is redirecting customers to tree farms in Fertile, Belmond and Coulter.
Recently, Fisher purchased 10 acres of land near Fertile, which will have enough drainage to avoid mud issues and be able to plant trees.