DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged Iowans to consider choosing a fresh, Iowa grown Christmas tree to decorate their home during the 2012 holiday season.
“It has been a challenging year for all farmers, including those that raise Christmas trees, but Iowa farms have a great selection of mature trees available that will make a wonderful centerpiece of your family’s celebration,” Northey said. “Selecting a fresh Christmas tree can be part of a great family tradition and is an opportunity to support the local economy.”
A directory of over 100 tree farms across Iowa is available on the Iowa Christmas Tree Grower’s website at www.IowaChristmasTrees.com. On the site there is a “Find a Farm” link on the top left-hand corner of the page. Besides the location of the farms, the directory also includes a phone number and hours of operation for each farm to assist in planning.
These 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.
Following are tips to keep in mind to make your trip to a Christmas tree farm more enjoyable:
- Be sure you know what size tree fits in your home, both height and width, before you leave. Trees always look smaller in the field and there is nothing worse than bringing a tree indoors only to find it’s too big.
- Where comfortable cloths, sturdy shoes, and gloves that you aren’t afraid to get dirty. You are going to a farm!
- Make sure the tree you pick has a straight trunk and will fit properly in your tree stand.
- 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.
- Make sure you unplug any tree lights before you leave home or go to bed.
- Remember – fresh cut Christmas trees are biodegradable! Recycle your tree after Christmas.
If you are not putting the tree up right away, store it in an unheated garage or some other area out of the wind and cold (freezing) temperatures. Make a fresh one inch cut on the base end and place the tree in a bucket of warm water.
“Follow these tips and your will be able to enjoy a beautiful, fresh and locally grown Christmas tree throughout the holiday season,” Northey said.
Iowa Christmas tree growers are also participating in the “Trees for Troops” program again this year. “Trees for Troops” delivers between 17,000 and 20,000 real Christmas trees to military families at more than 60 military bases overseas and in the United States. Iowa growers are donating 80 trees this year to military families.