Mold affects one of the country's biggest Christmas tree growing - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Mold affects one of the country's biggest Christmas tree growing states

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A mold called phytophthora, caused by heavy rains, is turning trees brown. A mold called phytophthora, caused by heavy rains, is turning trees brown.
Dale Crawford Dale Crawford
Business at a Christmas tree lot seems to be steady despite a mold that is affecting one of the country's biggest Christmas tree growing states. Business at a Christmas tree lot seems to be steady despite a mold that is affecting one of the country's biggest Christmas tree growing states.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Under Rudolph's watchful eye it's the most wonderful time of year for business at Tower View Farm.

Dale Crawford didn't have any trouble buying his usual allotment of firs, spruces and pines for his Taylorsville Road business.

"Weekends we're selling 50 to 60 a day, weekdays maybe 15 to 20 a day," he said.

Business seems to be steady even though he gets the trees he sells from a grower in North Carolina, where mold is affecting one of the country's biggest Christmas tree growing states.

"The guys down in North Carolina didn't say anything about that, don't know if they've had any issues, but I haven't seen any of it with trees that are coming into town, and I've visited other Christmas tree lots and I haven't found anything like that," Crawford said.

In North Carolina there are several trees you won't see for sale. A mold called phytophthora, caused by heavy rains, is turning them brown.

John Frampton, Professor, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NC State University, said, "It is a major problem for Christmas tree growers. And because they lose money on the trees that become sick and die, those costs in some way are passed on to the consumers."

For now, it's business as usual for Crawford.

He does suggest you inspect a tree before you buy it and make sure there's no brown, even deeper in, toward the trunk.

"The key is, just grab a branch and pull on it, if the needles come off, the tree is a little more dry than it should be. If they're holding good and tight, you won't have any trouble with the Christmas tree," Crawford said.

Crawford also said there are a lot of theories on how to keep your tree looking good until December 25, but the best advice is just to keep it in water.

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