A hobby farm can provide a wide variety of harvests throughout the year. Vegetables from a garden, fruit from an orchard, eggs from chickens, Christmas tree from your woodlot….
That’s right. Even if you’re not specifically growing a crop of Christmas trees, your farm may have young conifers perfect for harvesting as Christmas trees. Maybe they’re growing on the edge of a woodlot, or maybe they’re taking over an old rocky field. The details aren’t important. If they’re attractive and the right size for a Christmas tree, why not harvest one and enjoy a real Christmas tree fresh from your farm?
If this sounds like a delightful DIY experience, read on. We’ve outlined seven items you may need to harvest a Christmas tree off your farm:
1. Tape measure for measuring the tree
A young conifer can look downright tiny growing in a field next to larger trees. But once you cut a tree down and bring it into your home, it may seem a lot larger.
So before you cut down what seems like a suitably sized tree and realize too late that it can’t stand upright in your living room, grab a tape measure and figure out exactly how large a tree you need. Choose the spot where you’d like the tree to stand and measure how much height and width the spot provides. Then head outside with these measurements and search for a tree that matches your specifications.
2. Hand saw or pruning loppers for cutting the tree
I suppose you could use a chainsaw to quickly hack through your carefully chosen Christmas tree. But that’s not very picturesque, right? Unless you’re using an electric chainsaw, it’s bound to be noisy.
Instead, use a hand saw or pruning loppers to cut down your Christmas tree. Any tree of manageable height for indoor decorating is going to have a skinny trunk, so hand tools won’t be undersized for the job.
3. Winter gloves to stay warm
Hopefully you’re harvesting your Christmas tree on a beautiful sunny day with pleasant temperatures. But if you brave cold temperatures in search of homegrown Christmas cheer, be sure to wear warm winter gloves. And a whole winter outfit, for that matter.
4. A sled, cart or wagon for towing the tree home
Unless you want to carry the tree back by hand (which isn’t impossible for a small tree and a short distance), you’ll want to bring a sled, cart or wagon. A sled (like my favorite polyethylene snow sled) is obviously ideal if there’s a lot of snow on the ground.
But if the ground is all or mostly clear, a cart or wagon pulled by a tractor or ATV might be even better.
5. Snowshoes (or maybe a snow blower)
If you’re plunging through deep snow to harvest your Christmas tree, you may want to consider a pair of quality snowshoes to keep you from sinking in deep. Or maybe you need to fire up a snow blower (perhaps a tractor-mounted model) and clear a path to your chosen tree.
6. Ratcheting straps or bungee cords for securing the tree
How far must you transport the tree? If the tree is growing across a flat field 100 feet from your house, bringing it home will be a breeze. On the other hand, if you’re harvesting a Christmas tree from half a mile down a wooded trail on the back 40, you might want to use ratcheting straps or bungee cords to secure the tree to your sled, wagon or cart.
You don’t want to get halfway home (or worse, all the way home) and realize the tree slipped off somewhere.
7. A tree stand to support the tree and keep it in water
Don’t overlook this critical step! Your Christmas tree isn’t going to stand sturdily on its sawed-off trunk. You’ll need a tree stand to lock the tree in place and keep it upright.
A tree stand also provides your tree with a source of water to keep it green and cheerful through the holidays.
Have fun harvesting your own Christmas tree!