The National Christmas Tree Association in Chesterfield offers tips on how to find the perfect tree to cut down yourself:
- Measure the ceiling height in the room where the tree will be. Under the sky, trees look smaller than they really are, so don’t overbuy.
- Also measure the width of the room where the tree will be displayed. Most trees on tree farms are trimmed to an 80-percent taper, meaning a 10 foot tall tree is 8 feet wide.
- If you have heavy ornaments, choose a tree with stiffer branches or longer needles. Find more about tree species online, and choose a farm with the right trees.
- At the farm, look out for fire ants, tree stumps, blackberry vines and uneven ground.
- Come prepared for a day in the country. Wear comfortable shoes, old clothes and rain gear, if needed.
- Don’t forget your camera!
- Leave your pets at home, as most farms prohibit them.
- The farm operator usually provides saws, but you can check ahead of time.
- Ask for shaking or blowing services to shed the tree of needles that fall off as part of its normal life cycle.
And if you’ve never cut down a tree, here are some guidelines from Chesterfield’s National Christmas Tree Association:
- Get two people, a “cutter-downer” and a “helper.”
- The cutter-downer should lie on the ground to saw.
- The helper should hold the bottom limbs up and tug the tree lightly in the opposite direction of the cutting to ensure that the saw does not bind.
- When you’re almost done, cut the back of the tree slightly. Then finish the sawing on the original side.
Try one of these nearby farms for your tree:
The 75-acre family farm only accepts cash and checks.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday after Thanksgiving and weekends until Christmas
Address: 1668 Four Mile Road, Washington, MO
Trees: Choose and cut Canaan Fir, White Pine and Norway Spruce. Precut Fraser Fir. Prices are $6.50/foot.
Directions: Take Interstate 44 west to exit 251/Washington (Highway 100 West). Proceed 10 miles on MO-100 to Washington. From Washington, turn south (left at First Bank) on Highway/Route A and travel three miles to Four Mile Road. Go west for three miles on Four Mile Road to farm entrance. Do not turn onto North Four Mile Road, which dead-ends.
This farm is 30 minutes west of St. Charles and offers trees, wreaths, swags, and other specialty items.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 23-5 and Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9. Open Dec. 15 and 16 subject to availability. Contact the owners after Dec. 9 to check.
Address: 25882 S. Lohman Road, Wright City, MO.
Trees: Scotch and White pines
Directions: Take Interstate 70 to exit 199 (Wright City/Innsbrook). Turn left on Elm Street (Highway F). Follow the Highway F signs for 3 miles to the
intersection of Highway F and Highway M. Turn left on Highway M and
travel 1 mile to S. Lohman Road and turn right. Watch for the signs.
This 27-acre farm has choose-and-cut Scotch Pines and precut Douglas and Fraser firs. Prices range from $4/foot to $6.50/foot.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday after Thanksgiving and weekends until Christmas.
Address: 1125 Dietrich Road, Foristell, MO
Trees: Scotch Pines, Douglas and Fraser firs
Directions: Take I-70 west toward Wright City to exit 203 Foristell. Proceed down Highway V and turn left on Dietrich Road. Drive two miles, and the farm is on your left.
Grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and kids run this family farm.
Hours: 9 a.m. to sunset, Friday after Thanksgiving and each Saturday and Sunday until Christmas
Address: 228 S. Lindsay Road, Old Monroe, MO
Trees: Scotch and White pines
Directions: Take I-70 west to Highway 79 in St. Peters. Travel north about 13 miles to Highway 47. Turn left onto Highway 47. Travel about 3.8 miles to South Lindsay Road on the left. Watch for the signs. Turn left onto South Lindsay Road. The farm is 0.7 miles on the right.
Sunbrite Christmas Tree Farm
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas.
Address: 435 Guthrie Road, O'Fallon, MO 63366
Trees: Scotch pines, Canaan, Douglas and Concolor firs, Norway and Blue spruces, and White pines