Deer wipe out Christmas tree crop - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Deer wipe out Christmas tree crop


The dry weather does not seem to be impacting this year's crop of Christmas trees.  Most pines and firs on Iowa farms are looking pretty good.  But a different culprit of Mother Nature has eaten away one field full of Christmas trees.

This is typically the most wonderful time of year for Pine Acres Christmas Tree Farm near New Hampton.

"Just being able to see the people enjoy the season and have fun coming out and picking out their trees and the little kids running around.  It's a busy place out here, and it's fun to watch everybody," Jan Pacovsky, Pine Acres owner.

But this year, there's no holiday cheer to spread.  Just after Pine Acres closed for the season last year, deer took on the role of Christmas Grinches, nibbling up nearly the entire farm.

"They just sort of took over and bedded down in here.  We have about eight acres here of trees.  We figure between 10 and 12,000 trees that we've lost, which is probably between $75-80,000," Pacovsky said.

Unfortunately for Pacovsky, no kind of crop insurance is available to help cover the loss.  She's just hoping now that the damage is done and the farm's being opened up to some hunters, deer won't be back anytime soon.

"We're probably going to end up putting in a big fence around, not the whole farm, but around the area we have trees planted in and stuff so we can keep the deer out.  And then we'll be able to put gates in and open it up at Christmas time," said Pacovsky.

A few lucky, loyal customers will be able to buy trees Pine Acres bought on the wholesale market.  But everyone else will be pretty much out of luck, as the tree farm will sit empty until spring--when a new crop of Christmas trees can be planted.

Pine Acres has been in business over 40 years.  The farm will feel the effects of its deer eaten fields for several years to come because it will take at least five years to re-grow its Christmas tree crop.

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