Root Rot Wipes Out Family Christmas Tree Farm

Chipley- This was how Bill Maphis, the owner of Maphis Tree Farm and Nursery described his Christmas tree crop this year: "All of it's brown. Just turned completely brown."

It wasn't brown Friday when we visited his tree farm, it was just empty.
"We pulled out almost 600 trees and put them on the burn pile this year," he said.

Maphis told us the trees had died due to root rot.

"In July and August we had a large amount of rain, somewhere between 40 and 50 inches. Because the ground was wet so long, the roots of the trees rotted and the trees died in the field."

Many of his trees had been growing for years and we're expected to be big money makers.

"Up to 16 feet. So, you know, we figured it out roughly 15 thousand dollar loss this year just due to rain."

Unlike other growers who harvest their crop every year, Maphis told us his crop would take years. "You put a three gallon tree in the field, it will be ready in three years," he said. "So, we actually lost three years worth of crop."

So Maphis said he made a new strategy.

"In addition to the 300-400 trees we've already put in, we're going to put in seven and 15 gallon trees in hopes of having enough large trees next year that people can actually come to the farm and cut trees like they always do."

Until then Maphis said he was selling potted Christmas trees and freshly cut Frazier Furs.

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