2012 drought wipes out 2018 Christmas sales at Wyffels Tree Farm in Moline

MOLINE -

Black Friday usually goes green at Wyffels Tree Farm, 3319 North Shore Drive.

"A little tree like this, you can't put too many ornaments on," said Rick Wyffels, who began growing Christmas trees with his wife, Kathy, in 1993.

Unfortunately, a Grinch devoured the 2018 crop.  The sign is already up: Closed 2018.

Kathy is still able to sell her holiday wreaths. Call her at: (309) 781-7944 to place an order.

"When you have a field this size, they look and there's no tree here that they want," Wyffels continued.

These tree troubles started during the 2012 Drought, which killed some 2,000 seedlings at the Moline farm.

A crop that takes care and rain was instead baking in hot, dry weather six years ago.

"Late May to August, it did not rain one time," Wyffels recalled.

Every seedling was turning brown and being pulled.

"Look at that soil," he said in July 2012.  "That's dirt."

This is likely the longest impact from the drought.  That's because it takes at least six years of growth for these trees to be ready.

"All I saw was bare roots," he remembered.  "When I stuck my hand down the hole, all I had was dust."

The trees just aren't tall enough for commercial sales.  With good weather, they'll grow about a foot and a half each year.

"People would like to have a seven footer," Wyffels said.  "This tree has got at least a couple more years to grow."

Wyffels' plight is hardest on the little ones from generations of loyal customers that he must turn away.

"We love doing it," he said.  "For 20 years, we've had great camaraderie with tons of families from the Quad Cities."

In the time following the drought, they still knew this gap year would eventually arrive.

"We're going to miss it this year," he concluded.  "We look forward to having it start again next year, but there's going to be a lot of disappointed people."

Disappointment that's delayed six years by drought.