by Whitney Flach
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey encourages Iowans to consider choosing a fresh, Iowa grown Christmas tree to decorate their home this holiday season.
Tree farms devote over 1,500 acres to Christmas tree production in Iowa and as a result harvest approximately 39,500 Christmas trees each year. The result is a $1 million dollar industry contributing to Iowa’s economy.
It takes 6 to 12 years to grow a Christmas tree before it is ready to be sold. Most tree farms in Iowa are 3 to 8 acres in size and sell trees by choose and harvest method, where a customer comes to the farm and cut their own tree.
When taking your trip to pick out your Christmas tree, be sure to measure the height and width. Trees always look smaller in the field. Wear comfortable clothes, sturdy shoes, and gloves that you aren’t afraid to get dirty. Make sure the tree you pick has a straight trunk and will fit properly in your tree stand. The fresh trees need water. Once you get your tree home remember to check the water daily. Trees can use up to a gallon of water daily. Be sure to unplug any tree lights before you leave, or go to bed.
“Selecting a fresh Christmas tree can be part of a great family tradition and is an opportunity to connect with an Iowa farmer and support the local economy,” Northey said. “Iowa is fortunate to have more than 100 Christmas tree farms in all parts of the state, so everyone has the opportunity to get their own fresh tree to help celebrate.”