Milford Christmas tree farm weathers rough season

Despite a tree shortage, Tannenbaum Christmas Tree Farm in Milford is back for its 25th year of selling the festive evergreens.

Owner Dave Stoever said there will be about 200-300 trees available this season.

“We usually sell about double that,” he said.

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Some of the most popular varieties of Christmas trees include Scotch pine, white pine and Fraser fir. Photos by Rylan howe

Stoever explained the shortage is due to a few main reasons. First, he said a dry season from about six years ago prevented trees planted that year from growing properly. Disease took out a number of trees after that.

“Then a few years ago, we were selling trees so fast that we probably sold more than we should have each year,” Stoever said. “It’s kind of three different things that all kind of intersected this year.”

However, the farm will still be open on Friday, Nov. 29 and will be open until Sunday, Dec. 8.

The tree varieties available this year will include the popular Scotch pine — which is the most popular variety the farm sells — as well as white pine, Colorado blue spruce, Fraser fir and concolor fir.

The pines cost $35 apiece no matter their size, while the fir trees and the spruces cost $55 each. Stoever said the trees can range in size from as short as 4-5 feet tall to as lofty as 12 feet tall.

Stoever said he and his wife, co-owner Marcia, intend to plant more trees next spring to start replenishing their supply.

“Hopefully three or four years from now, we can start to catch up,” he said. “It takes about six to eight years to grow a tree, so it’s not a quick thing.”

Since the farm is opening later than it usually does this year, Stoever expects opening weekend will be a busy one as people prepare their Christmas decorations.

He said the farm has begun to attract customers from farther out than the Iowa Great Lakes area in recent years due to a decreasing number of Christmas tree providers.

“We get them from quite a ways out anymore because there were some Christmas trees competitors around and pretty much those are all disappeared.”