February 23, 2024


For 70 years, Christmas trees were the family business.

In 1952, Omer and Elinor McGee established the first Christmas tree farm in El Dorado County. Low rainfall and a dwindling snowpack, along with scorching temperatures, wreaked havoc on the trees. With the help of July, Mike was able to save 80% of the seedlings he planted in February. Lots of mature Christmas trees became kindling for a massive blaze in August. Mike gave it to his son, Eli, who, like his older brother, aspired to be a pilot or trainer. “He’ll work for a half-hour hunting for a bolt and a screw before he says, ‘Can you assist me?'” says Eli’s mother Phyllis.

Eli McGee changed his Facebook career from “production scientist” to “tree farmer” in June, after trading in his safety goggles for painting boots. Phyllis, Phyllis, Phyllis, Phyllis, Phyllis, Phyllis, Phyllis, Phyllis, Phyllis, “I assume it’s in Eli’s blood,” she added, adding that tree farming was “in Mike’s blood.” The 2,000 saplings from my own circle of relatives had failed miserably; 80 percent of them, 1,600 Christmas trees, had died. To keep their seedlings alive, the McGee family increased their water usage to 773,2 hundred cubic feet in the first ten months of the year.

According to a specialist, fires are making it more difficult for California’s most prolific timber to reproduce in the aftermath of a wildfire. Low-elevation conifers have adapted to common fires, but not to high-severity, high-warmth fires, according to him. According to Stewart, conifers are looking for higher altitudes with better reproductive conditions. Patches of closely packed forests that once defined the Northern California landscape will not regrow without the help of experts.

Thousands of trees had been torched, leaving “blackened skeletons of Christmas trees,” according to Mike. He’d like to get rid of the deadwood and fix the fence before rebuilding. He’d also have to decide whether or not to build the farm’s first irrigation system, which would be a time and resource-intensive project. For someone diagnosed with ALS, the average life expectancy is 5 years. Mike is unable to close his clippers or apply pressure on the tractor. Phyllis permits him to change the oil in his mower regularly. “It’s a little frightening to believe that your entire home will be completely flammable,” she says.


Drought, Fire Threaten Family Christmas Tree Business – Los Angeles Times. (2021, November 1). Los Angeles Times. 

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