BAKERSVILLE, N.C. (December 2, 2013) Phytophthora root rot, caused by a waterborne mold, is an issue with fir producers nationwide.
One study estimated the potential loss to No. 1 Oregon's nursery and Christmas tree industries at as much as $304 million, and Phytophthora costs growers in No. 2 North Carolina about $6 million a year.
While researchers try to unlock the genetic code to root rot, some farmers are trying Turkish fir as an alternative.
Fraser fir farmer Jeff Pollard of Crossnore, N.C., sold his first Turkish trees last year, and his customers were pleased.
Oregon farmers plant about 500,000 Turkish and Nordmann fir a year. Pollard plans to do a full rotation this spring.