Artificial Christmas trees are convenient, but for some families, they fall short. There is something special about the family tradition of going to a tree farm and choosing that special tree to put in your home, trim, and transform into the perfect Christmas tree. Additionally, real trees are renewable and recyclable without the non-biodegradable plastics and metals found in artificial trees.
If you haven’t yet found your Christmas tree, the Iowa Christmas Tree Association estimates about 100 choose-and-harvest farms throughout the state, providing ample choices in species and size. However, many farms are already closed for the season or sold out, but there is still hope. Here are some Iowa Christmas tree farms where you can still get a live tree before Christmas.
Aldrich Tree Farm, Belmond
1941 Taylor Ave.
Hours: 12 p.m. until dark every day
If you live in northern Iowa and have anxiety about buying a real Christmas tree, Aldrich Tree Farm is a great place to visit. You can choose from around 15,000 living trees and staff will bring it back to their processing area, use a mechanical shaker to get rid of old needles, wrap the tree in netting, drill it for a stand, and tie the tree to your vehicle. You can hang out in the bar and enjoy some cocoa or cider or shop for gifts while they do the grunt work!
Hunter Brothers Tree Farm, Chariton
20755 490th St.
Hours: 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends
You’ll find Hunter Brothers Tree Farm about a mile west of Chariton among the beautiful landscapes of Lucas County. You can buy a pre-cut tree from its lot. However, you can venture into the field and select your own tree. The farm has “Tree Runners” who will help you find the perfect tree for your needs and get it back to your vehicle. You’ll find various sizes and species, including white pine, scotch pine, Fraser fir, blue spruce, and Canaan.
Howell Tree Farm, Cumming
3129 Howell Court
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through Dec. 23
The Howell Tree Farm is a third-generation farm that began in 1963 as a way to raise some money to fund the cost of college tuition for seven children. Today, people head to Howell Tree Farm to choose their Christmas tree from more than 2,500 evergreens. Most Christmas trees at Howell Tree Farm are Canaan firs, but they cut some scotch and white pine to bring to its pre-cut lot on the weekends, making it easy for those who don’t want to head out to the field Clark Griswold style. However, even if you pick your own, the Howells will cut, shake, bale, and load your tree for you.
Deal’s Orchard, Jefferson
1102 244th St.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon. through Sat., 1 to 6 p.m. Sun.
Deal’s Orchard has made its name as one of the best places to pick apples in Iowa, but it also grows Christmas trees for the holiday season. The lot has various shapes and sizes of pine, spruce, and fir trees depending on your preference. Deal’s does stay open for various events, but its u-pick trees and pre-cut tree lot are dwindling. If you are still on the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree, call ahead at 515-386-8279 to see what they have left. During your visit, make sure to check out all the great gifts and gift baskets in the Apple Barn, and don’t forget to take your picture in Santa’s Sleigh.
Miller Tree Farm, Runnells
7404 SE Vandalia Drive
Hours: 3 to 5 p.m. M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
The Millers have been growing evergreens for the holiday season since 1954. Miller Tree Farm’s choose and cut fields are closed for this season. However, it still has a great selection of white pine, scotch pine, Fraser fir, and concolor fir on its pre-cut lot. Miller’s even carries trees up to 16 feet tall. You can find the pre-cut lot at their home farm, where they also sell wreaths, swags, arrangements, and tree stands.
Fisher Tree Farm’s Christmas Lot, Clear Lake
3 Four Winds Drive
Hours: 24/7 until Christmas
Fisher Tree Farm only harvests trees for three weekends: the weekend before Thanksgiving, the weekend after Thanksgiving, and the first weekend in December. However, if you are in a bind and need a last-minute live tree, it’s worth your while to head to its pre-cut lot in Clear Lake. The lot is in the front yard of the family home and includes varieties of fir, spruce, and pine ranging from 3 to 12 feet. The Fishers Tree Lot is on a self-serve honor system, but there are usually people to help on the weekends.
By Jessica Lee
Iowa Starting Line is part of an independent news network and focuses on how state and national decisions impact Iowans’ daily lives. We rely on your financial support to keep our stories free for all to read. You can contribute to us here. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.