How to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree (So It Lasts Longer & Stays Green)

Man hunkering down next to a Christmas Tree with a tree saw in one hand while he studies the trunk and prepares to cut your own Christmas tree so it stays fresh and green longer.

If you’re interesting in learning how to cut your own Christmas tree this year, so it lasts longer and stays green, it’s easier than you might think.

In fact, it’s a fun way to get in the holiday spirit and help the environment.

A lot of people think that cutting a tree is bad for the environment. But, according to NASA,1 the opposite is true. A real tree helps the environment. As a real tree grows, it helps clean the air and slow climate change.

On the other hand, when you buy an artificial tree, you are contributing to the production of plastics. When you get rid of the tree, you are adding more plastics to landfills. Whether you cut a tree from a forest or a tree farm, you are reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment.

Can I Cut Down a Christmas Tree Myself?

Yes! You can choose and cut your own Christmas tree. It is a great way to enjoy the holidays and create a memorable tradition.

If this is your first time, stay alert and use the right tools. Cutting your tree is just the start of the season. Enjoy a family outing and take measures to stay safe.2

To help your tree last longer, be sure to cut it and allow it to fall over. Don’t lean on it or push on it to break it off. The cleaner the cut, the healthier your Christmas tree will be — and the easier it will be for a new tree to grow. The way you cut the tree has a big impact on how long your tree lasts and stays green.

Can I Cut My Own Christmas Tree From a Forest?

In many parts of the United States, you can cut your own Christmas tree from a forest. Check with your local forestry service3 to find out about permits for tree cutting and learn any harvesting guidelines.

The Forest Service issues holiday tree permits in November. Trees need to be harvested 200 feet from any main roads or recreation areas. The Forest Service requires that trees be selected from overstocked areas and cut no more than six inches above the ground.

Before you and the family go for an adventure, check to make sure you have all the tools you need.

Family cutting their own Christmas tree in a Christmas tree farm.

(Image: Any Lane13)

Some forests allow chainsaws, however, others require the use of hand tools. Practice safe cutting with these hands-on tips:

  • Measure your space before you leave home
  • Measure the tree before you make a final decision
  • Use protective gear: heavy work gloves, eye goggles, sturdy boots
  • Bring a handsaw and/or an ax if chain saws are not allowed

How Long Will a Christmas Tree Last if You Cut It Yourself?

Whether it’s smelling mulled apple cider or feeling the chilly nip in the air, there is a certain moment when you know: the holidays are here.

Many families enjoy extending the holiday season as long as possible. You can cut a healthy tree right after Thanksgiving and it should stay perky and fresh until Christmas. Start by selecting a healthy tree.4

Curious how to check for freshness?

  • Gently tug the needles – they should stay put
  • Gently test the outer branches for flexibility
  • Look for bald spots or dry areas

The average tree will stay healthy and hold its needles for 3 to 4 weeks after being cut.

How Much Does It Cost to Cut a Christmas Tree Trunk?

Looking for ways to stick to your holiday budget? Cut your own Christmas tree. It’s a simple and joyful way to keep your holiday budget from running up debt.

The cost of cutting a Christmas tree varies across the nation. If you’re choosing and cutting a tree from a National Forest, it may be free or a nominal charge. If you’re selecting from tree farms, prices run an average of $55 per tree.

Considering that many Christmas trees are much more expensive than that when bought at a national chain, the outing is both fun and economical.

Why Cut Your Own Christmas Tree?

Cutting a living tree from a forest is a practical way to help the planet. You are helping to stop climate change and create a family tradition. Similar (although not as effective) to buying tree planting offsets from carbon offset companies, Christmas tree farms are working to lower emissions every year by replanting areas for harvest.

When you remove a tree from the forest, the remaining trees have more room to grow. Trees with enough room around them are healthier and more resilient to disease.

Close up pile of tree stumps and parts of trunks.

(Image: congerdesign14)

When you cut your own tree from a Christmas Tree farm, you’re actively supporting your community. You are helping small farmers and entrepreneurs stay in business, and reducing the carbon footprint of your purchase.

If you’re searching for a perfectly shaped tree, consider a tree farm. Tree farms usually grow trees in even rows, so the trees are more uniformly shaped.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Near Me (Find a Christmas Tree)

Cutting and caring for your Christmas tree are two parts of success. Fortunately, almost every state in the U.S. has a Christmas tree farm somewhere. This means that the answer to how many Christmas trees are cut down each year will be different each year.

To cut your own tree, search for forests and tree farms in your area. You can do a quick google search such as, “tree farms near ‘X’ city.”

The way you cut your tree can ensure your tree stays fresh. Incidentally, if you’re wondering how many Christmas tree per acre can be planted, the answer depends on the type of tree.

Cut your tree low to the ground. This helps it stay healthy, and also makes it possible for the remaining trunk to form a new tree.

When you get home, slice a one-inch portion off the bottom of the trunk. This helps your tree soak up important nutrients and water.

The Big Trend Across the United States: Cut Your Own Christmas Tree. It’s Fun, Saves Money, and Saves The Environment.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree NC (North Carolina)

North Carolina has a vast number of tree farms. Many North Carolina tree farms5 are open from early November until Christmas Eve. Some farmers offer pre-cut trees, while others invite you to pick and cut your own.

Tree farms generally sell out early. Check before you go. Bring tools for cutting and transporting, and allow plenty of time.

You may find a farm that also offers a sleigh ride or hay ride. Explore the offerings such as wreaths, decorations, seasonal plants, and produce to round out your holiday festivities.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree AZ (Arizona)

Although not as many as some states in the upper West and East Coast, Arizona tree farms are available and stock up with trees, wreaths, farm produce, and some with Santa visits.

If you and your family want to add to the holiday festivities and events, be sure to check online before you head out. Arizona Christmas Tree farms6 often change the hours, prices, supplies, and varieties of trees rapidly.

Aeiral view of a Christmas Tree farm in North Carolina.

(Image: Mark Stebnicki15)

Depending on where you live, you may find a tree farm where you can pick and cut the tree you want — and go for a sleigh ride.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Colorado

Cut your own Christmas tree – bring the mountains indoors. One of the great joys of living in Colorado is being outdoors.

If you’re getting your own tree, be sure to stay ready for the elements.

  • Bring a tarp for your car
  • Have plenty of rope for tying the tree to your car
  • Stay warm: gloves, snow pants, snow boots
  • Stay toasty: snacks and warm drinks
  • Stay safe: carry chains, shovels and fill up the tank

It’s good to consider the hours of winter light and potential road conditions.

If you’re traveling on backroads to get to a national forest,7 remember that Colorado winter weather is unpredictable. Stay prepared and check the road conditions before you head out.

Want to help your tree stay green? Wait to decorate it. Decorating with lights can warm up the tree. Enjoy the tree in its pure greenness and hold off decorating until later in the holidays.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Chicago

All around Chicago are tree farms8 where you can cut your own Christmas Tree. These quaint farms are places to get into the holiday spirit, enjoy some warm treats, chop down a tree and bring the Christmas spirit home with you.

Many of the local farms offer kid-friendly activities such as meeting Santa, taking a sleigh ride, and enjoying seasonal baked goods.

If you want to head north to Michigan and cut your own tree, check with the Michigan Christmas Tree Association. It’s easy to find one near you — just use the online map9 to find ‘choose and cut’ farms near you.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree CT

This is the year to choose and cut your own Christmas tree. If you’ve been getting tired of contributing to landfills with artificial trees, this is the year to make the switch.

It’s never been easier to find a Christmas tree in Connecticut.10 Many tree farms have fun events such as Santa visits, wreaths, baked goods, and homemade holiday treats.

Whether you’re going with your family, children11or grandchildren, selecting and cutting your own Christmas tree is a smart way to celebrate the holiday season. When you go out to cut your own tree with your children, you are introducing them to healthy habits and taking care of the earth.

Close up of a man using a chainsaw to cut a tree trunk.

(Image: HansLinde16)

Instead of showing by example that you don’t care about the earth with an artificial tree, you are doing the opposite. You are modeling good actions of earth stewardship. Your actions inspire your children to do the same.

Cutting a real tree is a holiday tradition you and your children enjoy. It is possible this tradition can inspire your children to continue this tradition as they grow up and have their own families.

To keep your beautiful real tree lasting longer, water it when you get home. Although your tree is cut, it needs to stay hydrated so it stays green. Use water at room temperature water as cold water can shock the tree.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree NH

Get the holidays started by cutting your own Christmas Tree in New Hampshire.12 You’ll find different types of trees, some to cut yourself and come pre-cut.

New Hampshire offers options for people who want to do more than contribute to landfills. You can choose and cut a real tree from a forest or a tree farm.

One way to keep your tree lasting a long time is to buy a living Christmas Tree. A living tree is a healthy tree to enjoy now, and plant later. Imagine having a beautiful tree in your front, side, or back yard. You and your family can watch it grow, take pleasure in helping the environment, and enjoy this tree for years to come.

If you’re going to a tree farm, look for special treats. Many farms offer holiday supplies such as boughs, garlands, wreaths, and mistletoe. Go for a tree…and come home with all the holiday supplies you can imagine.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree: Permit Applications

You can cut your own Christmas tree from a national or state forest, but first contact your local Forest Service Office to ensure it will be legal. Most forests require a permit before you start cutting.

Be aware that some offices run out of permits—be sure to get yours early. It’s important to know before you go so you can comply with local guidelines for permits.

Permits are typically available in local shops such as hardware stores, fishing stores, sporting goods stores, and even convenience shops.

To find a shop in your area that sells permits, do an internet search for “where to buy Christmas tree permits near (your city).” If you know the forest area near you, type in that name to get the permit.

Permits are sold, typically starting in November. Keep in mind that permits can sell out. Get your permit before they are sold out. To make sure your tree lasts longer, cut it after the end of November.

Start a Lasting Tradition: Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

Ready to cut your own Christmas tree? This is a wonderful way to build a lasting family tradition, enjoy the holidays, and help the environment.

This is the year to celebrate by choosing what is good for your family, your budget, and your holiday traditions. When you cut your own Christmas tree, you are helping your family and the environment.

When you cut your own Christmas tree and keep it green, it not only makes the holidays last a little longer, you help reduce the emissions of your celebration and create happy memories.


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2Branson, Jamie Birdwell. n.d. 10 Things You Should Know Before You Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree. Bob Vila. Web Page. n.d. <>

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4Bergman, Bill. 16 December 2021. How to Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree. Family Web Page. n.d. <>

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7How to (EASILY) Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in a National Forest. 15 November 2021. Embrace Someplace. Web Page n.d. <>

8Bernstein, Stephanie, Krupp, Emma & Yates, Allison. 23 November 2021. The best places to cut down a Christmas Tree near Chicago. Time Out. Web Page. n.d. <>

9Choose & Cut Farms Map. n.d. Michigan Christmas Tree Association (MCTA). Web Page. n.d. <>

10Pick Your Own Christmas Tree. n.d. Connecticut Christmas Tree Farms 2022. Pick Your Own Christmas Web Page. n.d. <https://>

11Cut Your Own Tree. n.d. Run Wild My Child. Web Page. n.d. <>

12Pick Your Own Christmas Tree. n.d. New Hampshire Christmas Tree Farms 2022. Pick Your Own Christmas Web Page. n.d. <>

13Photo by Any Lane. Pexels. Retrieved from <>

14Photo by congerdesign. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

15Photo by Mark Stebnicki. Pexels. Retrieved from <>

16Photo by HansLinde. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>