christmas-treeThanksgiving weekend is always a busy weekend for Iowa Christmas tree farms, as families head out by the thousands to select the centerpiece for decorations in their living rooms.

State horticulturist Paul Ovrom says the Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association can be a big help in making decisions about which tree would be best for your home.

“They have a great website that talks about the different kinds of trees and where you can find them,” Ovrom says. “Common varieties include the white pine, that’s probably the most common and most popular in Iowa. There’s the scotch pine and the fraiser fir, they each have different characteristics.”

The website address is Ovrom says Christmas trees are big business for the state. “It’s a million dollar industry in Iowa,” Ovrom says. “Some of the states to the north of us are much bigger in their Christmas tree production but we really encourage folks to go find the Iowa trees, find your Iowa producers and find that tree that’s just right for you.”

There are about 100 Christmas tree farms in Iowa, growing on a total of about 1,500 acres. “Many of these farms will cut the trees for you after you select them or you can cut your own, if you want to do it that way,” Ovrom says. “We do encourage folks to make a family outing and go to their local farms and find that right tree.”

The Iowa tree growers website says for every real Christmas tree harvested, two to three seedlings are planted in its place. It can take up to 15 years to grow a six-foot tree, but the average growing time is seven years.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)