BOONE, N.C. — It may be summer, but that doesn’t mean Christmas isn’t on Larry Smith’s mind.
He was a teenager when he started growing Christmas trees. He’s never looked back.
“With us living here in the High Country, God has really blessed us,” Smith said. “July is a busy month for tree growers. We’re doing a lot of padding on the trees. We’re going to harvest and we try to shape the trees in July because that’s when the growth is more tender and also it gives you better bud set for the next year,” Smith said.
Like many farmers, he is in the fields keeping an eye on his 50,000 trees. Smith says while they are having a good season now in the region, several years ago that was not the case. A freeze in May killed trees.
“I can remember that morning. Looking out, it was in May and you’re thinking, ‘Man, what are we going to do now? But as farmers, that’s the risk we take,” Smith said.
He says he feels for the farmers out west. Heat and draught are devestating their crop.
“That’s affecting their livelihood. They have got their income tied up in that for years,” Smith said.
Smith is preparing for a busy season. He says the area was already seeing a shortage of trees last year and this could impact it further.