By John Lauritsen

RAMSEY, Minn. (WCCO) – The sight of snow might have you in the mood to add some holiday greenery inside your home. But picking your Christmas tree might look a little different this year.

It’s the eve of opening day at Hansen Tree Farm and there’s plenty of work to do to get ready.

READ MORE: Supply And Drought Issues Impacting Christmas Tree Prices

“We have 40 acres here in Ramsey. Twenty-five in Christmas trees,” said David Hansen.

Brothers David and Mark run the farm which has been a family business for 70 years. They have about 10,000 Christmas trees ready to be cut. But this year will be different. Prices will be up slightly due to drought.

“It was brutal. The trees this year didn’t grow as much. The big trees. It was really… brutal is the word,” said David Hansen.

Ideally during the growing season, their trees would get about an inch of rain a week. But the Hansen’s say they got just one inch of rain over a three-month stretch. As a result, about 10% of the trees they planted the past two years, were lost.

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“This was the worst I’ve ever seen. If we didn’t have irrigation, basically, I don’t think any of the trees we planted this summer would have survived,” said Mark Hensen.

They’re worried the loss could lead to a Christmas tree shortage in future years. Still, last year was a record year and they’re expecting more of the same this season. Customers who show up this early are being encouraged to buy fir trees.

“Now is a good time to do it. Fir species, any of the fir species hold their needles so that’s not an issue. If you’re looking for a spruce don’t get it until Thanksgiving,” said David Hansen

The Hanses suggest buying a tree now, and if you don’t want to put it up yet, you can wrap it in tarp and leave it in the shade until you’re ready. They say fir trees can stay full for several weeks and not lose needles, as long as it gets a fresh cut then goes right into water.

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John Lauritsen