When you think of Iowa, forests may not spring to mind. But the state that grows so many crops has about 100 farms where Iowans can choose and harvest their own Christmas tree. Forester Dennis Adams says most are smaller than the tree farms in Washington, Oregon and the Great Lakes states but they’re a cash crop. There are many kinds of tree used for holiday decorating but certain varieties are favorites of local growers. Probably 75 to 80% of trees grown for Christmas trees are Scotch Pine, he says, because it’s hardy and adaptable to our climate. The rest are white pine, Austrian pines, and miscellaneous spruces and firs. Adams points out that when you buy a tree from a local tree farm you know it’s fresh, which isn’t always true of one that came off a truck.He says those may have been cut weeks ago or more, since they had to harvest them, ship and get them ready for display before Thanksgiving. He advises buyers be careful to make sure they’re getting a tree that’s fresh. You should look for one that’s not dried out and doesn’t have too many brown needles. That may be hard to do, though. Adams shares a shocking secret about commercially-sold Christmas trees. Most trees on retail lots are painted green, so all the needles look green. Hit the stump on the ground or brush the tree with your hands — and if lots of needles fall out, it’s probably too dry. Soon as you get it home, cut an inch or so off the bottom of the tree and put it into water. Adams has news for people who’ve always been told their tree is a big fire risk. He says while a dry tree’s a fire hazard, a cut tree that’s properly cared for “is no more flammable than a flower” in your house. He says properly watered and cared for, a cut tree can hardly be set on fire.