The executive director of the Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association is facing a different experience this year as the busy season is underway. Jan Pacovsky says they won’t have any live trees to cut as deer have wiped them out.
“They cleaned up a farm that had eight acres of trees — about 12,000 trees — in less than a week,” Pacovsky said, “so we’re kind of a nonexistent farm this winter.” Pacovsky runs “Pine Acres” in New Hampton with her husband Mel and says they are trying to help those who usually stop by every year.
She says they bought a few trees on the wholesale market for some of their regular customers, but when they are sold, they are done. While there won’t be any trees harvested on the farm, she is hoping that area residents will harvest some venison.
Pacovsky says they have some people who want to hunt their farm this year and hopefully get some of the deer. She says her son went out and counted 175 to 200 deer on afternoon bedded down on her farm. Pacovsky says the tree losses are not covered by insurance, and she can’t even begin to add up the lost time and money.
“It’s a very big cost, I wouldn’t even want to put a figure on it,” Pacovsky says. She says it takes six to seven years to grow a six to eight-foot tree, and then there’s the hours for planting time, and sheering them and mowing around them, and spraying them. Pacovsky still manages to stay positive despite the loss.
“I mean it’s, you know what else you gonna do? It’s just one of those things, it’s a disappointment,” Pacovsky said. She says it is kind of disheartening thing to go out and see no trees standing around. They did replant trees this spring. Pacovsky says it will be at least five years before the new trees are big enough to sell.