How To Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree In Canada
This is a complete guide to chopping down your own Christmas tree in Canada, We will be looking at the rules for each province and then discussing all the cutting down process. Finding your own tree is incredibly satisfying and is the perfect Christmas afternoon project. Let’s look at how to cut your own Christmas tree in Canada.
If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles, make YouTube videos, Instagram & Facebook posts all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science-based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.
The Easy Route
The east route is finding a local tree farm. These are located all over Canada coast to coast and usually include a full experience. My local pick-&-cut farm has sleight rides, hot chocolate and even a nighttime bonfire. You can’t go wrong when you are able to be woodsy in comfort. Plus the photos ops are endless for this year’s Christmas cards.
The Lumberjack Way
If you choose to wander out into the forest keep in mind there are some rules to follow. Each province has their own protocol so find your area in the list below and go from there.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In British Columbia
For this province tree cutting is FREE! The only thing the government asks is that you apply for a permit. The permit simply asks you where you intend to cut and if it will be done within 30 days. Keep in mind when you apply that the cut area can not be on private land, parks, near water, research area or a plantation.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Alberta
For Alberta, your permit is $5 and it allows you to cut down three trees total under 2.5 meters in height. The only request they have is that you harvest from permitted areas and avoid removing it from viewpoints, turnouts, steep slopes and reclaimed areas.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Saskatchewan
The Saskatchewan government does not require a permit for Christmas tree harvesting. The only thing they ask is that it is under 4 meters in height and on crown land.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Manitoba
Manitobans can apply for a permit to harvest from Crown land. The tree will need to be under three meters in height and be harvested from a designated area. Once the tree is cut you can not give it away, sell it or trade.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Ontario
In Ontario, you are limited to the north of the French and Mattawa rivers. These are located in Northern Ontario because cutting down conifers in the Southern portion of Ontario is not permitted. This is done to help discourage people from harvesting their own trees.
There is no permit required.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Quebec
In Quebec harvesting a tree is illegal. The charge is $300 dollars for the first offence.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Newfoundland and Labrador
There is no permit required for Christmas tree hunting in Newfoundland. There are a few rules to keep in mind. You should not cut a tree within 102 metres of a highway, or remove a tree from preservation areas. It also is illegal to cut down a large tree just to harvest the top.
Also, if you cut it you take it rule is in effect. It is illegal to chop down a tree and leave it behind.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Nova Scotia
In Nova Scotia, you are only allowed to chop down your own trees. Removing trees from forested areas off your land is illegal.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In P.E.I.
No permit is needed just make sure you ask before removing a tree from private land.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In New Brunswick
In New Brunswick, you will need to apply for a permit. On this permit, it will outline where you are allowed to cut from. If you are wanting to use balsam fir branches to create wreaths from the holidays you will want to pay $20 for a tipping permit.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Yukon
You don’t need a permit but they request you remove the tree from vacant public land. There is also the option to cut down trees located within designated areas of Whitehorse.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Northwest Territories
This is free and there is no permit required.
Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree In Nunavut
I was unable to find anything on Christmas tree harvesting for this territory.
The Prep For Cutting Down A Christmas Tree
Measure your space requirements. Double-check the height and width of the tree you require. But also be sure to check the base and determine how thick of a trunk you can accommodate.
Tool Needed For Christmas Tree Cutting
It is likely that the tree is being harvested a distance from your home. That means you don’t want to be taking a trip from Southern Ontario to Northern Ontario without the correct gear. Opt-in for labour-intensive options and also a mechanical option, just in case the chainsaw doesn’t work.
Tool needed include:
- Axe or large-toothed saw
- Gas-powered chainsaw
- A truck or roof carrier
- Bungee cords or ratchet straps
- Tarp or old blankets (trust me the sap will be your nightmare)
How To Cut A Tree
in Nova Scotia, it’s illegal to cut twice so you want to make sure you are confident in your choice. Chop the tree down as close to the base as possible, allowing you room for the stand. Cut a notch in the base of the tree on one side going about half the trunk diameter inwards. Then simply give the tree a push, allowing it to snap. The highest tree you can harvest is 2.5 meters in Canada, which means no real lumberjack skills are needed for these little guys.
Christmas Tree Care
Allow the tree to dry for a few days before trimming the bottom of the trunk. This cut should be on a slight angle and expose the fresh part of the trunk. The tree is likely to need a ton of water so make sure you top it up once a day minimum.
Fresh trees should last around 5 weeks when watered properly.
Composting The Tree
Most cities offer a composting service for old trees. Check out what your area has and drop the tree off after the holidays!
Let me know in the comments below if Christmas tree hunting is a family tradition for your family. Do you start the hunt now or just before Christmas is in full swing?