Finding Your Holiday Tree

wooden background, trees, Happy holidays


The 2014 Capitol Christmas tree is proudly being provided by the Chippewa National Forest in north central Minnesota, in partnership with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Annually, the selected tree is transported, raised and decorated on the west lawn of the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the holiday season.



Finding your own holiday tree in the Eastern Region

Each year, local U.S. Forest Service offices sell permits that allow individuals to cut fresh holiday trees and/or collect balsam boughs on national forest lands. Fees for the permits vary by location. Contact your local Forest Service office to learn how to obtain a permit, as well as for localized tree-cutting guidelines.


New Hampshire


White Mountain






Green Mountain









Tips for cutting down your holiday tree

  • Travel with a companion
  • Always let another person know when and where you plan to take your trip into the forest
  • Remember to take your tree cutting permit and a map of the location you intend to visit
  • Check the weather forecast and dress for it  (winter clothing: coat, hat, gloves, snow pants, boots, scarf, etc.)
  • Wear heavy duty, work gloves and eye protection
  • Bring along the following supplies: tarp, rope, tape measurer, saw, emergency supplies, water and food
  • Make sure you vehicle’s gas tank is full and equipped for the weather
  • Decide what direction you want the tree to fall, make sure the direction is free of obstacles (including power lines and vehicles), make the back cut by standing to the side away from the trunk, and step away as soon as it begins to fall
  • When you get home, cut off the bottom inch of the tree trunk, so it can absorb water

Tree Care Solution

Place your tree in the following formula:

2 gallons of hot water

2 ounces of liquid bleach

1/2 teaspoon of Borax

2 cups of corn syrup

2 pinches of Epsom salt

1 teaspoon of chelated iron

How this magic mixture works:

The corn syrup provides sugar to the tree allowing the tree to soak up more water than it normally would. Without the sugar, the tree would only absorb small amounts of water – which results in a dried out tree faster. Your tree should soak up approximately 1.5 gallons of this mixture in the first 10-14 days. The boron in the Borax assists the water and sugars in traveling to the needles. The magnesium sulfate produced by Epson salt and chelated iron help in the production of chlorophyll, keeping your tree a beautiful shade of green. The small amount of bleach reduces mold formation within the water stand.

Let your tree stand in this mixture until you are ready to bring it inside your home. Fill your tree stand with the remaining mixture to keep your tree moist longer.  

     snow covered pine trees with falling snow and blue sky