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updated: 7/31/2012 8:12 AM

Christmas tree growers lose seedlings to drought

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Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- The drought has killed many of the newly-planted Christmas trees in southern Wisconsin.

Growers say they'll have to plant twice as many next year to make up for the loss. Caledonia Tree Farm owner Russell Kook near Merrimac says most of the 4,500 seedlings he planted this year have died. Kook says other growers he's talked to are experiencing the same losses.

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The State Journal says Wisconsin has about 900 Christmas tree farms that produce about 1 million trees a year. The state ranks fifth in production nationally.

Growers say there should be plenty of trees this season because the older trees have deeper root systems and can survive the drought conditions.

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