70
      Friday
      83 / 64
      Saturday
      83 / 65
      Sunday
      84 / 64

      Oh Christmas tree, oh dried up Christmas tree

      This is just one of the young trees that did not survive the drought.

      Matthews Christmas Trees aimed to foster a family tradition for the holidays, but choose-and-cut Christmas trees will be in short supply this season in Liberty.

      The family business tried to restock their patches over the past three years, but drought conditions set back their plans.

      "The last few years have been pretty wicked on the trees. First of all, last year it started out the spring as really wet and then it turned off dry and really hot. We lost, we figure, 80-90 percent of our trees," owner Greg Mathews said.

      Most of the young trees could not survive the drought. That means it will be longer before Mathews Christmas Trees will have a full patch of trees ready to be cut and taken home for the holidays.

      Restocking the patch is a long process. Right now, Mathews guesses there are less than 100 good Christmas trees at his family's tree farm.

      "This year we planted 5,000 trees and we figured we have only have 30-40 percent left," Mathews explained.

      Many trees are mature enough to be Christmas trees, but since they were not trimmed as they grew they don't have the traditional Christmas tree shape.

      A few years ago Greg Mathews' son showed interest in taking over the tree farm. Family interest combined with community interest in a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm led him to start the process of building the farm back up.

      "We're trying our best to make it a neat experience out here. As a kid, my folks raised trees for almost 30 years and as a kid I helped do that and plant them and help people find their trees. So, it's kind of a neat experience that is going away, so we're just trying to bring that back," Mathews explained.

      Families generally start coming out to get their trees the weekend following Thanksgiving. For those who want to choose-and-cut a tree, Mathews recommends making the trip early.

      The tree farm will bring in a wide variety of pre-cut trees, and sell homemade fresh wreaths.