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Oregon's Christmas Tree Growers Work To Eliminate Slugs

Oregon Christmas trees.
wikipedia
/
Oregon Christmas trees.

Too early for holiday cheer? Not for Oregon’s 100-million dollar Christmas tree industry. November is the growers’ peak time for shipping. They’re taking extra measures this year to be sure fewer trees are rejected due to pests.

Oregon Christmas trees.
Credit wikipedia
/
Oregon Christmas trees.

Oregon is the nation’s largest producer of Christmas trees, exporting six to seven million annually. Gary McAninch is with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. He says some Oregon species of slugs and yellow jackets cause big problems in places like Hawaii:

McAninch: “When they find organisms that they don’t want to have in Hawaii, that would be invasive there, they reject the load, and either ship it back to Oregon or have it cleaned up over there at the shipper’s expense, which can be quite expensive.”

The past two years, ODA worked with growers to better shake and handle trees. They also sent inspectors to Honolulu to look at incoming shipments. The practices cut rejections almost in half last year and officials hope to do the same this year. About 250 containers of Oregon trees go to Hawaii each holiday season.

Copyright 2014 KLCC

Karen Richards
Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.