CARBON COUNTY, Pa. — Wilted leaves and dry, dusty fields are signs that drought conditions have hit crops at Yenser's Tree Farm in Mahoning Township, near Lehighton, despite all the rain we've had.
"We look back to the early 90s, and it's been as dry as it's ever been for 30-some years, and it's just in our area. Like I said, it's been spotty in certain places," said Ryan Wentz, one of the co-owners and a farmer at Yenser's.
The state put northeastern and central Pennsylvania under a drought watch at the end of August.
Wentz says that pumpkins have been hit especially hard this year because they're more weather-sensitive than other plants. As a result, you can expect them to be smaller.
"We tried watering by hand. We have a thousand-gallon tank, and we'd been filling and going out and were just spinning our wheels a little bit, so we just realized it's in Mother Nature's hand."
Wentz says pumpkins are smaller because of the drought.
"That affects pollination, it affects the bees, it affects photosynthesis. There are so many things that just are involved when you're growing pumpkins, and pumpkins are hard to grow to begin with, and then when you add this, it just makes it challenging."
But the weather isn't just impacting crops now, but future ones too, like the farm's main operation — Christmas trees.
"You won't see it now. You know you'll see it 6,7,8,9 years down the road. But we planted about 10,000 trees, and we lost just about half of them."
Regardless of the drought, Wentz says they've been lucky with what the crops have produced.
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