The woodsy fragrance of a holiday evergreen is a tradition that most northwesterners cherish. Living where forests are plentiful and tree farms are close by, it’s easy to find the perfect u-cut or precut trees for Christmas.
Farm trees are generally grown on land that doesn’t readily support other crops, and they supply extra oxygen to the atmosphere while protecting soil from erosion, says the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association. In the Northwest, holiday trees are grown like any other crop, with more than 1,000 farms supplying trees to many states throughout the West and Southwest.
At Manthey’s Christmas Treeland on Axton Road, Marcia and Dan Manthey have been raising trees on most of their 26-acre family farm since 1982. Three generations have worked the land, a former 60-acre dairy and farm.
“Most people who come to us prefer to cut their own,” Dan Manthey says. “We also keep a few precut trees around, and will gladly help anyone with a bad back cut the one they want.”
Going to a tree farm can be a money saver. Treeland’s trees range from $20 to $30 and are priced by the type of tree, not the height. Store trees can cost more than $100 for a tall one.
“It’s just too much work to measure and price trees,” Marcia Manthey says with a laugh. “And then you’ve got those people who will cut off the top and bottom and try to pretend it’s shorter than it really was.”
2.3 million Christmas trees in 2015 harvest in Washington
They sell about 1,500 evergreens annually. Nordmann firs are extremely popular. The dark-green needles that reverse to silver look a lot like Noble firs and have easy-to-decorate branches.
The Mantheys also grow pines, grand firs, Douglas firs, and a few other fir species. They offer customers a handout showing the shapes of tree needles to help u-cutters find the perfect one.
They have about 21,000 trees in the ground, says Dan Manthey, a retired contractor who spends July through September trimming and shaping trees with Marcia in preparation for the holidays.
47 percentChristmas trees in Northwest that are Douglas fir
Marcia Manthey loves the visitors they receive from their opening the day after Thanksgiving and up to Dec. 23.
“We have people who grew up with us and now bring their own children to pick out a tree,” she says. “We make it fun, with hot chocolate and cider, coffee and cookies.”
The farm creates a holiday feeling with lights, a small train, and Christmas music. The Mantheys also sell wreaths, swags, garlands and crosses, plus tree stands and tree preservative, and gifts made locally, such as oap, hats and scarves.
“We love seeing people and kids have a blast,” says Marcia Manthey. “The mood is fun and festive, and creates family memories that will last forever.”
Manthey’s Christmas Treeland
Location: 773 W. Axton Road, east of Ferndale
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, from day after Thanksgiving to Dec. 23
Advice from Manthey’s Christmas Treeland
When visiting a tree farm
▪ Wear footwear appropriate for mud.
▪ Don’t trip over stumps in the field.
▪ Wear an appropriate coat and other clothing if the weather is cold or inclement.
▪ Be careful when using a bow saw, and don’t let children use it.
▪ Do not bring a chainsaw.
▪ Ask for help if you have a bad back or other disability.
▪ Drive carefully when arriving and leaving; there can be children in the area.
▪ Bring your own twine unless you know the tree farm provides it.
▪ Measure your ceiling height before you choose a tree.
▪ U-cut trees are fresher, so look for a date tag on precut trees.
Caring for your tree at home
▪ Store your new tree with water in a cool place.
▪ Use the correct size stand that holds at least 1 gallon of water.
▪ Cut a half-inch off the base of the trunk.
▪ Place trunk into the water right away.
▪ Install the tree away from direct heat.
▪ Check and refill the water daily.
▪ Test tree lights for wear; mini lights and LEDs are less drying.
▪ Turn off tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
▪ Don’t burn your tree in a stove or fireplace.
▪ Recycle your tree when the season ends.