Despite worries elsewhere, Sooke Christmas tree sellers say they haven’t been hit hard by the extreme weather over the past six months.
Drought and demand have seen supply issues for big wholesale Christmas tree sellers. The Canadian Christmas Trees Association said there’s a supply shortage across the country and in the U.S.
Pat Brooks, who’s operated a Christmas tree business on her two-hectare lot on Whiffin Spit Road for 30 years, has seen more trees die this year due to the drought but said cooler conditions in Sooke helped protect them from the worse of the impacts.
“We did not mow the grass around the new baby trees because we thought that would keep the moisture in, and we didn’t lose very many, fortunately, because down here in Sooke, we have the influence of the cooler sea cooler air situation,” she said.
She added that the recent heavy rains would make conditions a little wet for people to cut down trees. Mervin Brooks, Pat’s husband, said there is a limit on how many trees they can sell — around 150. If they sell more, that leaves them short for the following year.
Scott Kendrew says his field on Phillips Road north of Sooke Road, adjacent to the Sooke River, flooded with water rising above smaller trees. But the trees survived the wet and the dry season. Kendrew had irrigation in the field and was able to keep trees healthy during the summer drought.
This is the first year he’ll be selling Christmas trees. He started growing them seven years ago after deciding against growing hay in his field and slowly saw 2,300 trees sprout up.
“It started just as a hobby, and we’re excited to see people come out,” he said.