Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

A Perfectly Cut Christmas Tree
A Perfectly Cut Christmas Tree

Are you looking to cut your own Christmas Tree? Look no further, the Wild West Trail is happy to help guide you on a Christmas tree-cutting adventure. Finding the right species of tree, understanding where they grow, and getting the necessary permits is easier than you think! Keep reading to discover how you can cut your own Christmas tree, save money, and have an unforgettable experience. 

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree In Idaho

If you don’t live in Idaho, you can skip this section. Feel free to read more about the Wild West Trail.

For my fellow potatoes out there – here is all the information you need to cut your own Christmas tree in Idaho, for free. 

Every family can harvest two Christmas trees for free, no permit required.

On State Owned Idaho Endowment Lands

If you are harvesting your tree(s) from public endowment land, you don’t need a permit. Be careful! Over 60% of Idaho land is actually federal land and the National Forest and B.L.M. do require Christ tree permits (only $10) to harvest a tree. However, as every law-abiding Idaho citizen knows, why pay for something that you can get for free? 

Mapping Idaho State Endowment Lands

Even if you don’t hunt, you are going to love the Idaho Fish and Game digital map provided on the website here. Turn the layer on for State Endowment Lands to find the closest free Christmas tree land nearby. It’s easy and the best part, its free! 

What Type Of Tree Is A Christmas Tree?

Not all evergreen trees are made the same and only a few species of pine trees make good Christmas trees. Evergreen trees get their name from their characteristic needles that stay green through every season. Pine trees make the perfect Christmas tree because even after they’re harvested, their needles hang on tight, even inside your house and hung with Christmas lights.

Tree Rings On a Christmas Tree
This Fir Tree Was 9 Years Old

The best type of tree for a Christmas tree is a fir tree. Similar to other species of pine trees, these coniferous (cone-bearing) evergreen trees have a “fluffier” look than most other species. Finding the right type of fir tree depends on where you live, with over 50 species growing in North America, you can be assured there is most likely a grove growing nearby. 

Where To Cut Down A Christmas Tree

After deciding to cut your own Christmas tree, the fun really begins. There are five steps that every good tree-harvester follows:

1. Go To Where Christmas Trees Live

Finding the perfect fir tree is more of a scavenger hunt than many think. If you want a nice looking tree, you need to go to where fir trees grow – the tops of mountains. What makes these trees appealing for the Christmas season, thick needles, short enough to fit inside a house, vibrant green colors, are characteristics needed to survive in harsh winter conditions. Whether you live in California, Idaho, Or North Carolina – the best fir trees are found in higher elevations. 

2. Make Sure You Have The Necessary Permits

Cutting A Christmas Tree On National Forest or Bureau Of Land Management Land is super easy! Each federal agency has an online Christmas Tree permit application that generally costs between $5-10 a tree. Some states, like Idaho, give each family a free Christmas tree if it’s harvested on the right land. Understanding your rights as an American will open doors to a dirt-cheap and wonderful Christmas tree! 

3. Bring A Small Daypack And Handsaw 

If you’re serious about harvesting a fir tree for Christmas, you’re going to be hiking for it. Depending on where you park, you might have to walk a mile or more for the right tree. Make sure to pack a small daypack with all the necessary provisions for a day-hike. Don’t forget to bring a saw! A small bow saw or hand saw will do just fine, these trees aren’t that big. 

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

4. Pack Rope To Tie Your Tree To The Car

Don’t let the excitement of the hike and timbering of your own Christmas tree make you forget to bring a rope. Bring enough to affix the tree to the roof of the car or inside the bed of a pick-up truck. If it’s going to be hanging off the back, you might need to tie a flag to it, just read your local laws to understand how best to transport the Christmas tree.

5. Water The Tree Throughout The Christmas Season

After the tree is safely set up inside your home, the work’s not over. Just like flowers in a vase, you have to keep the tree watered or else it will dry up, drop needles on the floor, and potentially become a fire hazard. I keep my tree stand filled with water throughout the holiday season. I’ve had trees stay green and healthy past New Years with this method.

Have a  Merry Christmas and find the perfect Christmas Tree this year! 

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