The Friday after Thanksgiving can be a busy day for many of Iowa’s roughly 100 choose-and-harvest Christmas farms, as many growers sell their first trees of the season.
A number of Iowans still prefer buying a real tree, as opposed to an artificial one, though these trees require additional maintenance. One of the most important parts of Christmas tree maintenance is keeping the tree hydrated.
"Adding warm water will soften the sap, " says Gary Harman, who runs Walnut Ridge Farm, with his family in Indianola. "Trees do tend to seal over, and the warm water will soften the sap, so the tree will take up water."
Another issue some consider when decorating for Christmas is tree-climbing cats. Harman recommends a Blue Spurce, due to the tree's long, stiff needles.
"They cuddle up to it once, they probably won't the second time, because it's kind of like cuddling with a porcupine," says Harman.
But for those who are fond of White or Scotch Pine, the most popular varieties of Christmas trees, Harman suggests hanging a slice of lemon or orange. The citrus may also deter feline curiosity.