Although it's not clear yet whether there will be the white Christmas many people hope for, at least the Christmas trees will be green.

While the summer and fall drought has wilted many crops, Christmas tree growers say most of their ready-to-cut trees weathered the dry spell. But growers say the real effects of the drought on their trees probably will be felt months or years from now.

Dennis Duke, owner of Hilltop Tree Farm, said that although the trees he will cut this season are dry, most are in good shape.

"We didn't lose too many of the big trees," Duke said. "Most of the trees have done fairly well and have survived the dryness."

"Mine are doing pretty good," said Scott Waldie, owner of Waldie's Tree Farm in Lewisport, Ky. "The bigger ones tend to hold on a little better. I started cutting yesterday, and the guys here said they noticed a few more dead needles falling out, [but] we haven't been losing any green needles."

But Waldie said many smaller trees, which normally would be harvested in a few years, probably will die because of this year's drought. Since trees need water to store sugar in their roots for the winter, trees that have not received enough water may not survive until the spring.

"Of my smaller trees, I lost several," Waldie said. "I knew when we had the drought that they were going to be gone."

Duke said he also lost many seedlings he planted in the spring, which could spell problems for his business years from now.

"Every grower I've talked to lost every single seedling they planted," Duke said. "So that will make a difference years from now. In another seven years, you'll see a shortage in trees grown locally."

Duke said although the cut trees he'll sell this year have survived the drought, they will need plenty of water once buyers take them home.

"The quicker you get your tree and put it in some water, the better," he said. "It's going to drink water immediately, [whereas] a fresh tree that has some moisture won't drink right away."

Duke said trees that are cut and sold on lots will dry out if left on the lots over time. He suggested buying your Christmas tree early and putting it in water as soon as possible. "It's just drying out sitting there because it's not being put in water."

"Usually, the first couple of days you really have to watch it," Waldie said. "My big thing is just to make sure the stand doesn't run out of water."