Finding Christmas Amongst the Trees in the Northwest
4 min read
Christmas is just around the corner, and that means it's time to find that iconic little piece of forest to bring inside your own home. Fortunately, the Inland Pacific Northwest is a rich hunting ground for that perfect Christmas tree. In fact, the Pacific Northwest is among the nation’s largest producers of Christmas trees. Whether you want a traditional fir or a more exotic variety, you will have options in the tree farms of Eastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle, around Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.
Let’s look at ways to find a good tree, tips for chopping down your own, and ideas for caring for and disposing of your tree after the holidays
Choosing and Cutting Your Own Tree
When it comes to keeping your tree looking beautiful throughout the holiday season, freshness is the key factor. And the only way to get yourself an undeniably fresh tree is by cutting it yourself. For some, cutting down the Christmas tree is a family tradition, but for those new to the experience, we have some tips. And many of these also apply even if you’re buying a pre-cut tree.
Dress for the weather
Make sure everyone who comes along is ready to stay comfortable and warm outside. You don’t want to rush through the experience just because someone is under-dressed. Also, remember you’ll be walking on uneven ground and working up a little sweat if you’re doing your own cutting, so wear comfortable attire.
Measure, measure, measure
Measure the space you have for your tree before setting out to get one. Then, bring a record of the measurements, and bring the measuring tape with you. That way, you’ll make sure you don’t wind up choosing a beautiful tree that your room simply cannot accommodate.
Know the restrictions for cutting
Most of us who cut down our Christmas trees choose to do so at tree farms, but some families go out into the woods. If you choose the woods, make sure you have legal permission to cut down a tree in the area you’re looking. Some areas require permits or restrict tree size. Some are off limits altogether.
Choose a healthy tree
You can check the health of a tree by giving it a shake. For real: hold the tree by its trunk and shake it. Then, run a closed hand along one or two of the tree’s branches. If you see a lot of needles falling to the ground or your find that a branch easily snaps, you have a tree that’s already drying out. Look for another one.
Cut as low to the ground as possible
This is the really hard part. You’ve got to get down low, under the tree’s widest branches, and saw through the thickest part of the trunk as far down as you can. Once the tree starts to lean, finish sawing as quickly as possible. It can be tempting to push the tree over to finish the job but doing that can cause the trunk to splinter and rip unevenly.
Bring supplies to transport the tree
Whether you’re chopping down your tree or buying a pre-cut one: bring ropes, ties, and a tarp or blanket. Take care of your tree while you attach it to your car. You don’t want to spoil all your hard work. And make sure it is truly secure if you are transporting it atop a vehicle, especially at higher speeds.
Where to Cut Your Own Tree
For those in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area, check out one of these great places:
Holly Lane Tree Farm Free hot cocoa and beautiful views in the foothills area of Mt. Spokane. This farm carries a wide range of Christmas tree types and sizes, including: Rocky Mountain White Fir, Grand Fir Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce, Blue Alpine Fir, Douglas Fir, and more.
The Dietz Christmas Tree Farm Run by the Dietz family for 40 years and counting, Santa visits this welcoming place on the weekends! Offers free shaking, bailing, and hot cocoa!
Moore’s Tree Farm Right inside the city limits of Coeur d’Alene that sells beautiful Colorado Blue Spruce.
Rusty Gate Tree Farm Produces conifers for landscape and Christmas trees, natural wreaths, and essential oils.
Care and Disposal
Take care of the tree and dispose of it in an earth-friendly manner
Fresh Christmas trees consume a lot of water. So, make sure you check your tree’s water regularly for the first week. After that, the tree will stop going through water as quickly, but you’ll still want to give it a refresh now and again.
When it comes time to dispose of the tree, it’s tempting to toss it to the curb. Some communities do have tree pick-up services for a short time after the holidays. However, a quick google search can lead you to tree recycling and mulching programs in your area. In the Spokane Valley, Boy Scout Troop 400 will recycle your tree for a small fee that goes towards their outdoor activity fund.
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