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Where to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

Posted by Johnine Larsen on December 3, 2020
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What better way to fight pandemic blues than with the smell of a real evergreen in your living room? These are five King County tree farms where you can get a Christmas tree straight from the source, either a U-cut with provided saws or a fresh pre-cut. Patronizing one of these tree farms reduces the environmental impacts of shipping trees, and it also supports small, local business. Not to mention it feels more magical.

Trees are selling out quickly this year—especially U-cut trees—because more people than usual are craving as much Christmas cheer as they can get. If all the perfect trees are gone by the time you look for one, or if you want more of a do-it-yourself experience, you can buy a $10 permit to cut your own tree in a National Forest. More on that below.

Make sure to check each tree farm’s website before you go for the most up-to-date info about their available trees and their COVID-19 restrictions.

 

McMurtrey’s Red-Wood Christmas Tree Farm (Redmond)

Providing a joyful holiday memory is something we’ve enjoyed for multiple generations. “Grandpa” Larry McMurtrey established our farm over forty years ago, in 1974. We have been growing Christmas trees along Redmond-Woodinville road since 1978. McMurtrey’s Red-Wood Christmas Tree Farm is now owned and operated by his youngest daughter and son-in-law, Jana and Pablo Sifuentes.

The tradition of choosing a beautiful Christmas tree with the family, having a cup of hot chocolate or cider, candy canes, and decorating the tree is a loved event. We look forward to seeing your happy faces every year. We intentionally keep our prices reasonable with options from small tabletops to 15′ trees. We are committed to offering you the best experience. With 40+ years of experience, we know farming is both challenging and rewarding.

Our take:

  • Dogs are welcome (but must be on a leash)
  • The farm resupplies with beautiful pre-cut trees weekly, so you’re guaranteed to find a fresh tree
  • Extra tall trees are available with local delivery referrals upon request

Location and hours:

  • 13925 Woodinville-Redmond Rd.
    Redmond, WA
  • 425-482-6795
  • red-woodfarm.com
  • Open daily, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

 

Trinity Tree Farm (Issaquah)

Trinity Tree Farm was established in 1982, nestled on a hilltop in the historic town of Issaquah, Washington. Owned and operated by the Dutro family since 1996, our farm has expanded over the years to 40-acres of beautiful Douglas, Grand, Noble, and Fraser Firs.

Trinity Tree Farm is a festive family-oriented place to select and cut your own Christmas tree. We also have a large selection of pre-cut Christmas trees if you want to visit our farm, but do not want to cut down your own tree.

Our take:

  • Dogs are welcome (but must be on a leash)
  • Families can ride the train ($3) as a group (masks required).
  • Due to pandemic restrictions, Trinity’s log cabin gift shop is closed this year. They also can’t offer complimentary hot cocoa, but they still operate a full espresso bar, and the food court offers to-go items on the weekends.

Location and hours:

  • 14237 228th Ave. S.E.
    Issaquah, WA
  • 425-391-8733
  • trinitytreefarm.com
  • Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–6 p.m
    Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.–6 p.m.

 

Crystal Creek Christmas Tree Farm (Maple Valley)

Crystal Creek offers two variety of firs, 4–9′ tall.  All trees, all sizes cost $89.

Noble Fir (Traditional Favorite): A much loved tree by customers in the Pacific Northwest.  It has beautiful form, either bushy or layered, depending on how it is pruned. It has a long life and supports an abundance of decorations. Some varieties exhibit a slightly bluer hue than other varieties of local trees.

Nordmann Fir (Hardy in every way): The Nordmann Fir, or Turkish Fir, is fast becoming a northwest favorite due to its hardy growth, and long needle retention, even several months after being harvested.  Its strong limbs easily hold the most challenging of weighted ornaments.

Our take: 

  • Visit their website for a $3 coupon off any tree
  • A one mile train track runs through Crystal Creek Farm’s picturesque 23-acre farm. This was an 18 year project in the making, and you can experience a ride for $5/person. In addition, the farm’s train coach flat car as well as a kiln cart from 1895 will all be ready for kids to climb on and push along the tracks, a perfect setting for your holiday family photo.

Location and Hours:

 

Coates Christmas Trees (Auburn)

Come enjoy an activity that the whole family will enjoy. Coates Christmas Tree Farm is about more than just selecting the perfect tree. With so many things to see and do your family will want to make it a seasonal tradition!

Coates Christmas Tree Farm transforms into a world full of Christmas Cheer. Everywhere you look Christmas decorations adorn every inch of the farm to bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart. Bring the kids and enjoy some hot chocolate, cider and of course Santa Claus!

Our take:

  • Dogs are welcome (but must be on a leash, and you must bring poop bags)
  • Santa will visit the tree farm Dec. 5 & 6, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Location and Hours:

  • 17225 S.E. Green Valley Rd.
    Auburn, WA
  • 253-709-6293
  • coateschristmastrees.com
  • Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–5 p.m
    Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

 

Carnation Tree Farm (Carnation)

Help us celebrate our 35+ years by choosing your special Christmas tree at the Carnation Tree Farm. The farm has been in our Norwegian family since 1901 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a stroll through our 16 acres of U-cut trees. We grow Douglas, Fraser, Grand, Noble and Nordmann Firs as well as Norway and Blue Spruce.

For your convenience, the Carnation Tree Farm provides free on-site parking, twine, tree shaking & baling and tree recycling with every Christmas tree purchase. We accept most major credit cards, debit cards, and personal checks. Of course, just plain old cash is also accepted.

Our take:

  • Carnation Tree Farm provides free on-site parking, twine, tree shaking and baling, and tree recycling with every Christmas tree purchase.

Location and Hours:

  • 31523 N.E. 40th St.
    Carnation, WA
  • 425-369-7999
  • carnationtreefarm.com
  • Open Fri.–Sun., 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

 

Cut Down a Tree in a National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service lets anyone harvest trees for personal use firewood and Christmas trees—but you must first have a Forest Service-issued permit and you must follow specific guidelines, which can vary from forest to forest. We recommend Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Christmas Tree Permits, which are valid for use in the eastern portions of Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. Here’s how they work:

  • Contact the forest district office nearest you (or follow this link) to obtain a permit for home firewood, Christmas tree and tree cutting instructions.
  • Wood or Christmas trees cannot be sold. Permits must be in your possession at all times while on the forest.
  • Cut only one tree per tag.

How to prepare for your Christmas expedition:

  • Dress for the season. Always be prepared for the cold and snow, and start tree hunting early in the day to have plenty of daylight hours.
  • Remember to tell someone where you are going. Your cell phone may not work on many forests.
  • Learn how to read a map and use a compass and carry them both with you.
  • Bring emergency supplies, including water and food and a first-aid kit.

Where NOT to look for your perfect tree:

  • Do not cut on state or private land, in wilderness areas, research natural areas, tree plantations or in any other posted area.
  • Do not cut in active timber sales or areas that have been planted with new trees.
  • Do not cut trees within 200 feet of main roads, recreation sites, and campgrounds.
  • Do not cut trees within 150 feet of any stream, lakes, pounds or wetland areas.
  • Never cut a tall tree just for the top.

How you SHOULD look for your perfect tree:

  • Select a tree from overstocked areas and thickets.
  • If snow is on the ground, remove it from around the stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height.
  • Take the whole tree. Do not remove the top of the tree; cut down the entire tree.
  • Tree height: 15 feet maximum
  • Tree diameter: 6 inches maximum
  • Stump height (how much of the stump is left after you cut the tree): 12 inches maximum

Once you’ve cut your tree:

  • Attach your tree tag to harvested tree before placing in vehicle.
  • Bring a rope and tarp to move your tree from the harvest area to your vehicle.

Our take:

  • Depending on where you go, you might need to pay for a parking permit in Sno-Park lots—but if you have a fourth (or fifth) grader, you might be able to get your forest pass for free.

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