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 treeÂ from your woodlotâ€¦.
Thatâ€™s right. Even if youâ€™re not specifically growing a crop of Christmas trees, your farm may have young conifers perfect for harvesting as Christmas trees. Maybe theyâ€™re growing on the edge of a woodlot, or maybe theyâ€™re taking over an old rocky field. The details arenâ€™t important. If theyâ€™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. Weâ€™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 youâ€™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 thatâ€™s not very picturesque, right? Unless youâ€™re using an electric chainsaw, itâ€™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 wonâ€™t be undersized for the job.
3. Winter gloves to stay warm
Hopefully youâ€™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 isnâ€™t impossible for a small tree and a short distance), youâ€™ll want to bring a sled, cart or wagon. A sled (like my favorite polyethylene snow sled) is obviously ideal if thereâ€™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 youâ€™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 donâ€™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
Donâ€™t overlook this critical step! Your Christmas tree isnâ€™t going to stand sturdily on its sawed-off trunk. Youâ€™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!