Local Christmas tree farm not impacted by Douglas Fir decline

Oregon's famous Douglas Fir trees are declining, according to a 2018 Oregon Department of Forestry aerial survey.

Posted: Jul 23, 2019 12:47 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2019 8:16 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Oregon's famous Douglas Fir trees are declining, according to a 2018 Oregon Department of Forestry aerial survey. While this could have impacts on Oregon's recreation and air quality, it is not impacting the state's thriving Christmas tree industry. 

Right now Rudolph Christmas Tree Farm is pruning its Douglas Firs. This is a process that will go on for the next two months as it gets ready for customers. 

"Also we're irrigating of course because we're in the driest months of summer," said Rudy Tantare, owner of Rudolph Christmas Tree Farm. 

While Tantare's Douglas Firs are thriving, that's not the case across the state. ODF says around 680,000 acres of Douglas Firs are dead or dying due to hot and dry drought conditions. 

"We are seeing Douglas Firs down in Southern Oregon that are stressed because of these drought conditions," said Sarah Navarro, a Forest Pathologist with the Oregon Department of Forestry. 

Rudolph Christmas Tree Farm is not feeling these effects because it has its own irrigation system. 

"Because we can control the amount of moisture the trees are getting, we can maintain a healthier condition for those trees and are hoping to avoid issues that are occurring in wild land areas," said Tantare. 

While Tantare is confident in his ability to grow the 4,000 Douglas Fir trees on his lot, he tells NewsWatch12 the dead patches of forest around the Rogue Valley worry him. 

"We're all concerned that it doesn't affect our trees in the valley bottom. Our Christmas trees, our crops are important to us," says Tantare. 

To combat the effects of the hot and dry weather, Tantare says he plans on irrigating his lot more often. 

ODF tells NewsWatch12 that the results of this survey will not hurt your hunt for the perfect Christmas Tree, because the majority of Douglas Firs are not harvested on public land. 

The department does say that it can create hazards in Oregon's famous recreation sites, it can potentially decrease air quality if the trees are not replanted, and impact the ecosystems that rely on the water around the trees. 

If you would like to give your opinion on the impacts of the drought in Oregon, you can fill out a survey from The Oregon Department of Forestry, the National Drought Mitigation Center, and the National Integrated Drought Information System by clicking here. 

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