MEQUON -- This year, it may not be the Grinch who steals Christmas, but rather, Mother Nature. This summer's drought has had an impact at many of the Christmas tree farms in the Milwaukee area.
Kathy Gross, owner of Noffke Tree Farms in Mequon says the farm has taken a "substantial loss" after dry weather and scorching summer temperatures damaged their Christmas tree crop in Waushara County.
"We lost mostly all of our one and two year old seedlings. We did have some bigger trees that died up north," Gross said.
Gross says it's nearly impossible to recoup from losing large trees. She says she is hoping a new batch grows fast for future holiday seasons.
"Because of the trees that did die, we'll plant a little bigger seedlings so they can catch up, so that won't affect us quite so much," Gross said.
Fortunately, Noffke says she has a number of farms around the state that fared much better.
"As far as Mequon goes, they grew pretty good," Noffke said.
Shoppers told FOX6 News they've noticed the drought's impact.
"I was looking online and a couple tree places weren't even doing cut your own trees at all this year. That's part of the reason we came to (Noffke's)," one shopper said.
Gross says customers should be sure to take good care of their Christmas trees for safety's sake, and so that they last through the holiday season.
"When you're ready to bring it in the house, make that fresh cut. The sap has sealed the bottom of the stem and it will not take any water unless you make a fresh cut. Keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources, and that tree will last for the whole holiday season," Gross said.
Despite the loss, Gross says Noffke Tree Farms is not raising prices for its customers this season.
CLICK HERE for more information on Noffke Tree Farms.