"At my age, I may just quit."
He said expenses - transportation costs, rent at the farmer's market, pay for hired help - already make Christmas tree farming a less-than-lucrative business.
"I don't really want to quit," Armstrong said. "I love to do trees. If it was just the damn money, I would have quit a long time ago."
Armstrong's father, French, sold the farm's first Christmas tree in 1966. Armstrong started in the business in 1972, after selling a tree he grew as a 4-H project.
Al Tolliver, owner of Crickmer Farms in Danese, said about 1,000 of his trees were damaged by the snowstorm. He expects to salvage many of those trees, however.
The eastern Fayette County farm received at least 30 inches of snow, but because Crickmer Farms grows short-needled Fraser firs, the trees did not hold as much snow. Instead of sticking near the top and breaking those branches off, Tolliver said the snow drifted to the trees' middle branches.
Those branches eventually broke off, but Tolliver said he probably could trim the broken sections to allow new growth.
"We'll be able to recover most of them, but it'll take a year or two of growth," he said.
Still, Tolliver's business has been affected by the storm. He had enough trees to supply his Capitol Market operation but, like Armstrong, had to cancel wholesale orders. Tolliver couldn't supply trees to the Charleston Fire Department's annual tree sale.
Other tree growers escaped damage.
Marvin Edwards, who runs Whispering Pine Tree Farm near Point Pleasant and sells trees at the Capitol Market, said his farm didn't receive any snow at all.
Another Capitol Market seller, Kolen Lilly of Lilly's Landscaping, said his Mercer County farm received around 30 inches of snow, but it appears none of his quarter-million trees were affected.
"It didn't hurt mine. Thank God," he said.
Deputy State Forester Greg Cook said the state Division of Forestry has not received any reports of major damages to state forests.
"It would be very localized if anything," he said. "It was just kind of hit and miss all over."