How to Select and Cut a Tree

Ranger kneels at treeSelecting Your Tree

Please try not to cut single trees in forest opening; these trees are our future forest. Find a group of trees and select one from the group, this will promote the remaining trees to grow faster.

Christmas Tree cutting is prohibited in the following locations:

  1. Wilderness areas & proposed Wilderness
  2. Developed Recreation areas including Glenwood Canyon
  3. Administrative areas
  4. Campgrounds & Ski areas
  5. Commercial Timber Sales, where logging is active 
  6. Within 100 feet of main roads
  7. Camp Hale area on the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District
  8. White River National Forest Lands within Gunnison County (Aspen-Sopris Ranger District)
  9. Meadow Mountain (lower slopes) directly behind the Holy Cross Ranger Station (outside of Mintun, CO)
  10. Grizzly Creek Fire and Deep Creek Fire area closures.


The best tool for the job is a small hand saw or camp saw.child cutting a Christmas treeCutting Your Tree

Please observe the following rules and regulations while cutting your National Forest Christmas tree:

  • Any conifer species may be harvested, but please avoid cutting COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE trees
  • Aspen trees may be cut
  • Harvested trees shall be less than 15 feet in height from ground level and 6 inches or less in stump diameter at ground level.
  • Cutting the top off of large trees is prohibited
  • Trees must be used for personal use and not re-sold
  • Cut your tree as close to the ground as possible (stump height of 6 inches or less) and trim stumps clean of all green branches
  • Attach your Christmas Tree Permit to the base of your tree before transporting
  • One Christmas Tree Permit will be issued for each Christmas tree to be harvested

Transporting Your Tree: Attach your Christmas Tree Permit to the base of your tree before transporting

Caring for Your Tree

Once you have your tree home, cut 1 inch off the base of the trunk and place the tree immediately in water. Do not allow the base of the tree to dry out because the tree will seal over and will not take up water.

Regular tap water works great for prolonging the life of your tree. Check the water level several times a day during the first week and at least once a day until the tree is taken down. 

Increase the air humidity around the tree by blocking off furnace outlets near the tree and misting the needles daily.

Call your nearest Ranger District Office for more information