Cut your own Christmas tree: seasonal magic with bells on

Your Christmas tree is a beautiful seasonal centrepiece. To make it something you’re even more proud of, why not see if you can cut your own?

Man wearing a hat and winter coat pulls a Christmas tree along snow-covered ground, with a view of forest behind him

Where to cut your own Christmas tree

The woods are a no-go

There’s no question about it: you absolutely cannot head for the woods with an axe to cut your own Christmas tree – it’s not permitted and you could be prosecuted for theft, along with any number of other offences such as trespassing, criminal damage, breaching the peace... That would certainly take the shine off the most wonderful time of the year. Remember that forests are privately owned spaces and treat them accordingly.

Find a Christmas tree farm near you

You don’t need to forgo the magic of heaving home a Christmas tree that’s been cut with your own hard work though, thanks to a number of Christmas tree farms around the country. Find out if you have one in your area. You’ll probably find that you don’t even need to make an appointment to cut your own Christmas tree – just turn up with your own tools during their opening hours. With just a little bit of imagination you can feel like a real woodsman in a forest of firs!

Why cut your own Christmas tree

How cut your own Christmas tree

Snow-covered pine trees and ground in a forest

The tool

Having the right tool makes it very easy to cut your own Christmas tree. If permitted at the site, a cordless chainsaw is ideal because it is easy to transport, easy to start and has more than enough power to take down a standard fir. We recommend the lightweight MSA 140 C-BQ cordless chainsaw. If you can’t use a chainsaw – or if you just prefer the physical challenge of the traditional approach – STIHL also offers a range of axes.

How to cut your own Christmas tree

  • Before you start work, give the tree a good shake to dislodge any loose needles and snow.
  • Don’t go solo to cut your Christmas tree: take help, as one person needs to hold the trunk somewhere in the top third to keep the tree steady.
  • ·As you work, the chainsaw bar or axe blade should be angled downwards.
  • With the tree cut and on the ground, trim the base of trunk so that it will fit in your tree stand.

STIHL professional tip: If you have a tree stand that you can fill with water, add a spoonful of sugar to the water as well – this will keep your cut Christmas tree fresh for longer.

Cut your own Christmas tree: safety considerations

Cutting your own Christmas tree is fun for the whole family, but safety should always be paramount. When working with a chainsaw, you need to wear cut protection trousers and shoes, work gloves, and glasses to protect your eyes from wood shavings. Ear protection is not required with cordless chainsaws.

When sawing, make sure that your companions keep their distance, particularly if you have children with you. Choose a weekend or day off to cut your own Christmas tree – you must always work during the day while it is still light, as the risk of injury increases considerably when it’s darker.

Summary: cut your own Christmas tree

  • Only cut your own Christmas tree where it is permitted to do so
  • The best way to cut a Christmas tree is with a cordless chainsaw or an axe – check what is allowed at the farm before you go
  • Never cut a Christmas tree alone – a second person should be there to hold the tree
  • When you cut your own Christmas tree, the guide bar or axe should be angled towards the ground
  • Only ever cut a Christmas tree in good light: the risk of injury increases in dark conditions