Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Community News Network

December 6, 2012

Drought, other factors hinder Christmas trees

OSKALOOSA — Scotch Hill Christmas Trees may be closed this season, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone for good.

With drought conditions gripping Iowa for many, many months, it’s not just corn and soybean farmers who’ve been impacted. Diane and Andy Davis’ Scotch Hill Christmas Trees just outside of Oskaloosa is closed for the holiday season because of a lack of trees that were of desirable size.

Diane said the weather conditions over the past year have been “very poor” when it comes to trying to grow Christmas trees. Drought conditions, as well as planting fir trees for the past 10 years or so have also played a role, Diane said. She noted that fir trees don’t grow well on their land and that they plan on sticking with scotch and white trees in the future.

Heavy rainfall about three years ago also had an impact at Scotch Hill Christmas Trees, said Diane. She explained that, with heavy rain, tree roots can’t take to the soil as well.

Every spring, 1,200-1,500 seedlings are planted at Scotch Hill Christmas Trees, said Diane.

Planting and caring for Christmas trees is a year-round process, Diane said. After the spring planting in April, they spend the spring and summer keeping the weeds down and mowing. In June, they typically trim and shape the trees, she said.

This past summer, a watering system was used regularly at Andy and Diane’s tree farm, said Diane. However by August, many of the trees were lost, said Diane.

Diane said 2012 would have been Scotch Hill Christmas Trees’ 15th or 16th year selling trees. The couple started planting the trees back in 1986, she added. When the Davis’ sons, Nick and Ben, were younger, they worked alongside their parents at Scotch Hill Christmas Tree Farm. Diane noted that her sons earned a lot of “sweat equity” for their college funds while working on the farm.

Since 2006, Andy and Diane have participated in the Trees for Troops program, which provides Christmas trees to the families of military personnel. Although they could not participate in the program this year, Diane said they remain grateful for what the U.S. military does for the country.

“There’s no comparison for what they do for all of us as Americans to keep us enjoying our freedoms,” said Diane.

In 2011, Diane and Andy got a chance to meet and take photos with Gov. Terry Branstad in the rotunda of the Iowa State Capital building alongside one of their locally-grown trees. The tree was selected among others used to decorate the capital building.

“That was nice,” Diane said. “That was an honor.”

As far as the future goes, Diane said Scotch Hill Christmas Trees will strive to be open next holiday season. Although they are closed this season, it is not their intent to permanently close Scotch Hill Christmas Trees, Diane said.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

Features
AP Video
Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Which service of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce do you believe is most beneficial for its membership?

Events
Legislative lobbying
Promotional material publication
Educational programs for the community
Other
     View Results