Christmas trees rotting away - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Christmas trees rotting away

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Many people pulled out the Christmas decorations this weekend and are gearing up for the winter holidays. But, there's something rotten in Christmas tree country that has some tree farmers are now looking overseas for a solution.

Root rot is threatening traditional Christmas fir trees, and growers are scrambling to find a solution this year. Phytophthora root rot, caused by a waterborne mold, is an issue with fir producers nationwide.

One study estimated the potential loss to number one producer Oregon's nursery and Christmas tree industries at up to $304 million, and the rot costs growers in number two North Carolina about $6 million a year.

While researchers try to unlock the genetic code to root rot, some farmers are trying Turkish fir as an alternative.

North Carolina farmers began selling some of the Turkish trees last year and said they were popular. So, those may be a majority of the tree you'll see being sold this year, and even more so into next year.
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