When it comes to Christmas trees, there are people who favor fake trees, real tree purists and those who prefer to choose and chop their tree from a Christmas tree farm.
The question of where to cut your own Christmas tree is an easy one to answer. There are Christmas tree farms throughout the Northeast, where conifers of various varieties, shapes and sizes are planted and nurtured, destined to become the glittery holiday centerpiece of someone’s home. If not every year (although it is prime tradition-making material), you should try it at least once for the adventure if you can.
What are the benefits of cutting down your own tree? For one, they are fresher; the branches are a bit springier, their fragrance brighter and they’ll generally last longer. And of course, there are the bragging rights that come with playing lumberjack and cutting and hauling out your chosen evergreen with your own two hands. It also feels more Christmassy than the Home Depot parking lot.
If any of the above sounds good, take a look at these 10 Northeast Christmas tree farms. Most open right after Thanksgiving.
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Before Heading to the Christmas Tree Farm …
- Get out the tape measure. Measure the spot that you would like to put your tree and the height of the ceiling to know how tall or wide of a tree your house can accommodate.
- Consider which type of tree is best for you. If you would like your house to be filled with the Christmassy scent of pine, try a Douglas fir. If you have a lot of heavy ornaments, pick a tree with sturdier branches like a Colorado blue spruce and avoid varieties like the white pine, which has very soft needles. If you want branches with good fragrance that are just as great at ornament holding, you can’t go wrong with a balsam or Fraser fir.
- Call the farm ahead of time. Make sure the farm still has plenty of cut-your-own trees available, especially if you go toward the end of the season. You can also call ahead to make sure if the farm is pet-friendly or if saws are provided. Most Christmas tree farms allow you to bring your own hand saw. Power tools are not typically permitted for safety reasons.
Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Farms
Check websites for seasonal schedules and pricing. Call ahead for closings due to inclement weather.
Maple Row Farm
Maple Row Farm has been in business since 1769, but that doesn’t mean they don’t keep up with the times. The farm’s app will help you navigate the grounds and find the perfect tree for your family from the wide assortment available. Pet the oxen, enjoy a hayride and relax while browsing for wreaths and other holiday accessories. Bonuses: Dog-friendly, tailgating is permitted and saws are provided.
Greenwood Tree Farm
Selling mostly Fraser and balsam fir, this small family Christmas tree farm is a charming little operation for the holidays. While the staff helps to load your tree onto your car, warm up in the barn with local apple cider and samples of honey from their honey bee farm. Before you leave, browse the Christmas gift shop or visit the decoration station at the farm stand to get a wreath or kissing ball customized to your liking.
Vandervalk Farm & Winery
Balsam and Fraser fir trees are available for cutting on a first-come, first-served basis (no tagging or reserving in advance), along with plenty of pre-cut fresh trees. Free services include tree shaking, wrapping, twine, apple cider, snacks and cute picture spots. Warm up by the fire in the Christmas barn, which also sells holiday goods and decorations. And afterwards, don’t miss your opportunity to stop in for a tasting of Vandervalk’s blueberry and fruit wines, handcrafted in small batches from the farm’s own blueberries.
Noel’s Tree Farm
Whether you cut your own tree or buy pre-cut, the family that own Noel’s tree farm puts in a lot of love, tending to their trees throughout the year to make sure that you have a perfect-looking selection to pick from come Christmastime. Other decorations like wreaths and roping are also available in many shapes and sizes. Bow saws are supplied and leashed dogs are welcome.
The Rocks Estate
As the North Country Conservation and Education Center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Rocks Estate has been growing Christmas trees for over 35 years. It is known as a holiday destination, complete with caroling, horse-drawn wagon rides and marshmallows roasted on an open fire. Visitors can wander through the historic property and search row upon row to find and cut down their ideal evergreen. Free tree wrapping and car loading is provided.
Evergreen Valley Christmas Tree Farm
Wander rows of over 10,000 trees surrounded by mountain views at this 145-acre Christmas tree farm in Warren County, just a short drive from both New York and Pennsylvania. Bring your own saw or borrow one from the farm. Staff is also on hand to cut your tree for you if you would like. Leashed dogs are welcome, so bring along your best friend.
Wyckoff’s Christmas Tree Farm
Wyckoff’s has been in business for over 60 years and has been an official Christmas tree supplier to the White House. There are over 5,000 cut-your-own trees waiting to be selected at the farm, as well as fresh pre-cut trees, wreaths, pine roping and blankets available for purchase. For those looking for something a little funkier this holiday season, Wycoff’s also has painted trees in a variety of colors. Hand saws are provided, along with extra services such as putting your tree on a “tree shaker” to rid the tree of stray needles, wrapping it for better transport and drilling a hole at the base for pin stands. Visit the holiday barn for gifts and decor.
Elwood Christmas Tree Farm
For a quiet tree cutting experience, head to this 20-acre Long Island farm. Bring your own saw or they will cut your chosen tree for you. The staff will also tie your tree to your car without extra charge.
Battenfeld’s Christmas Tree Farm
Red Hook, N.Y.
Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas in the country at Battenfeld’s family farm. Choose and cut your own Christmas tree from six different varieties. A one-stop shop for all of your holiday decorating, the farm also has an assortment of individually handmade wreaths ornamented with all-natural embellishments and a Christmas shop for gifts. Saws are provided and leashed dogs are welcome. Handsaws are available to rent for $10 or purchase for $15.
Big John Leyden’s Christmas Tree Farm
West Greenwich, R.I.
Selection is not a problem at Big John’s. The farm grows over 100,000 trees and 10 different varieties including balsam fir, Fraser fir, blue spruce and white pine. And they allow you to tag trees in advance, meaning that you can make an outing out of choosing your Christmas tree earlier in the season and come back and cut it down whenever you’re ready to put it up. The staff will cut your tree, wrap it and put it on your car. While you’re there, take a family photo in front of the 20-foot tall Santa in the field. Leashed dogs are welcome.
How to Safely Transport a Christmas Tree
- Ensure it’s wrapped well. Most trees sold at farms will be put through a netting machine that tightly bundles up the branches for safe transport. In case netting isn’t available, bring a blanket or tarp to wrap the tree yourself.
- Direction matters. When arranging the tree on the roof of your vehicle, make sure the stump end is at the front. This will diminish damage when the car is in motion.
- Tie it up tight. If you can, use a vehicle with a roof rack to make your tree transport simple and safe. Car roofs, doors and windows are not designed to have objects fastened to them. Looping rope through these areas can even tear the seals off your doors. Secure the tree with nylon ratchet straps at the front, middle and just above the bottom branches. Before heading home, check all straps to make sure they remain tight and the tree isn’t able to move left, right, forward or back.
Tips for Christmas Tree Care
- Don’t feel guilty about cutting down a tree. Christmas tree farms are planted specifically to meet the demands of the holiday season. Plus, real Christmas trees are biodegradable and recyclable. Artificial trees are made of plastic and live in landfills indefinitely when they are disposed of.
- Keep your Christmas tree hydrated. Fill the tree stand with water and check daily to make sure it stays filled up to the base of the tree. A tree stand should hold at least 1 gallon of water – that’s the amount the average 6-foot tree can consume per day!
- Keep your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, heaters and direct sunlight. Not only is it safer, it will slow the drying process.
Do you cut down your own Christmas tree? Tell us your favorite Christmas tree farm in the comments.
Find the different Christmas tree varieties.