Iowa Christmas tree grower Rod Heintz says there’s an undersupply of some popular evergreens nationwide due to wildfires and drought. “Right now there’s a shortage of Christmas trees because of that,” Heintz says. “Everything is up 3 to 5 dollars a tree this year.”
Heintz manages Strautman Tree Farm near Cambridge. He says Iowans can likely save a few dollars this year if they get a tree grown within the state’s borders. Heintz did not raise his prices from last year.
“We sell ’em from three feet tall to 15 foot…so, they range anywhere from $30 to $250 a (tree),” Heintz says. There are around 100 Christmas tree farms in Iowa, growing on a total of about 1,500 acres. Heintz says he was pleasantly surprised with the strength of his Christmas tree crop this year.
“We had absolutely no rain this growing season, but they look tremendous,” Heintz told Radio Iowa. “I can’t believe how well they look.” Heintz says many of his customers return year after year because they enjoy the experience of buying a tree direct from a farm, rather than from a big box store.
“If you want to cut it down, we’re a choose and cut, so we hand you a bow saw and you go out through our 90 acres and cut it down,” Heintz said. “If you don’t want to put it on your vehicle, we have trucks with people who can pick ’em up and doing everything for you. Then, you can come into our gift shop and have cider and cookies, check out, and go home and decorate your tree.”
According to the Iowa Christmas Tree Grower’s Association, it can take up to 15 years to grow a tree of average retail sale height (6 feet), but the average growing time is seven years. The top selling Christmas trees in Iowa are Scotch Pine and White Pine.