The president of the Iowa Christmas Tree Growers say you’ll have a good selection of Iowa-grown trees this year.
Jan Pacovsky says the growing season that help the state’s two main crops of soybeans and corn was also kind to tree growers.
“I haven’t heard any negatives from any of the growers that they’re having problems. And everything is looking pretty good,” according to Pacovsky. “Basically they (trees) do pretty good when there’s not a lot of rain, because they don’t get over watered.”
Pacovsky says too much water and not enough can impact tree growth, but the growers she’s heard from are pleased. She says everybody is talking about having some nice trees this year. While growers across the state are looking forward to a good season, Pacovsky won’t have trees again this year as they continue to recover from a heard of deer which ate the trees on her farm. If you head out to a farm to cut your own tree, she says look for one that appears to be in good health.
“They want to look at something that looks like it has some good, fresh needles on it and has been taken care of. Most of the trees that the growers grow, they do a lot of work on them, trimming and things like that involved in taking care of the Christmas trees,” Pacovsky says. She says many people think tree farmers simply put the trees in the ground and wait until they are tall enough to be cut and trimmed.
“It’s a process that people don’t understand,” Pacovsky explains. She says you plant the seedlings and then after three years you have to trim and work on the trees before the final product is ready in about seven years. While there are all kinds of artificial trees that come in box and some with lights already in the branches, Pacovsky says many of the customers at the tree farms are repeat customers. Many parents bring their kids to re-live the tradition of when they went out and got a tree as kids.
“They gotten to the point where it’s gotten to be kind of a good to make it a family affair. And they go out and run around, the kids do, and try to see which tree is the best. It’s just a good activity for them,” Pacovsky says. The Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association represents 98 tree farms in the state.
A directory of tree farms across Iowa is available at: www.IowaChristmasTrees.com. Go to the “Find a Farm” link on the top left-hand corner of the page. The location of the farms is listed as well as a phone number and hours of operation for each farm.
The Iowa Agriculture Department says the 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 Ag Department says Christmas tree growers contribute a one million dollars to Iowa’s economy.