MARCUS, Iowa (KCAU) — As Christmas tree farms open their doors for business, people may find it harder to get their hands on fresh trees.

Country Pines Tree Farm has been selling for roughly 30 years and in the business lifespan, nothing like this year’s drought has happened before.

“To count total, we’re about 220 trees that we’ve lost to drought this year, so yeah the drought was not good. The more water we tried to put on things, it’s like the water hit the ground and evaporated before it started going down into the ground,” said Justin Pritts, co-owner of Country Pines Tree Farm.

Justin and Tanya Pritts became the new owners of Country Pines Tree Farm two years ago. During their time on the farm, Justin said this has been their biggest hurdle so far.

“The bottom 4/5 feet of those were green and beautiful and looked perfect and the top 2/3 feet were absolutely brown, completely dead. You could grab the trunk at the top and snap it off. I mean that’s how dry it was,” said Pritts.

Not only did the drought kill hundreds of Christmas trees, but it also stunted their growth.

“They get really slow on growing, so if they don’t have adequate water to get out of. It kinda puts all of our little trees behind a year because there’s nothing for them to grow on, they just kinda sit there and kinda suffer,” said Pritts.

A five-foot tree can take between six to eight years to grow. With fewer Christmas trees to sell, Justin and Tanya decided to buy pre-cut trees from out of state.

“We brought in a 180 Scotch Pine trees from northern Wisconsin. To be honest, it’s the only way we were gonna open was to bring those trees in,” said Pritts.

Due to transportation costs for the Scotch Pines, the Pritts have had to raise the price of the locally grown trees. 

“Last year we sold our field trees for $55. This year we sold them for $60,” said Pritts.

Despite the price increase and the new addition of pre-cut trees, Country Pines Tree Farm sold 450 trees during their opening week. Pritts said the community has been supportive of their tree situation.

“People have really, really been understanding and for us as new owners. We can’t express our appreciation deep enough for people to consider coming to a cut your own farm and take a pre-cut tree,” said Pritts.

Country Pines Tree Farm expects to sell out over the weekend as are many local fresh tree sellers, so those who want to have a real Christmas tree this year had better get one soon.