Natalie Sare met her husband in 1972 while working on his Christmas Tree farm in Half Moon Bay during college. "He said he was going to fire me because I talked too much," Sare told SFist, but in fact, the two were married and she's been promoted. Now Sare owns and operates Santa's Tree Farm with him.
In all their years together, she says conditions haven't posed a problem, and that remains true this season. "The drought has not affected our tree farm at all," Sare says, "In fact, the way that Christmas trees grow and the amount of irrigation is such that it really doesn't pose a threat."
But others disagree, and haven't been so fortunate. “I think 99 percent of everything we planted last year died,” Jim Beck, founder of Patchen Christmas Tree Farm in Los Gatos told NBC Bay Area. “It’s painful to see these trees suffering obviously.”
Appraising a Douglas Fir, he said that “These needles should be about an inch-and-a-quarter to an inch-and-a-half long... As you can see they’re barely three-quarters-of-an-inch long, that’s the primary affect of the drought.” Beck even highlighted a sunburned tree or two, a situation that occurs when hot temperatures scorch trees that can't pull enough moisture from the ground to cool off.
Paul Illingworth, owner of Castro Valley Tree, has also seen his trees diminished by the drought. "The buds aren't quite as large as they should be and the needles aren't as long as they should be," he told told ABC 7. "What's happened is the drought has... kept the trees smaller than they have in the past," he surmised.
There's still time for a bit of moisture to buoy tree growth, and with them, the spirits of holiday celebrants. It looks like we might see rain on Thursday, or as some might call it, a Christmas miracle.