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Want to capture a fresh, wild Christmas tree?

Looking to cut down a fresh-from-the-woods Christmas tree? You have options!

First of all, though, cutting of Christmas trees is not allowed in Michigan state forests. Only dead and downed trees in certain areas are available to people who have purchased a $20 fuelwood permit.

However, you can buy a $5 permit to cut a tree in Michigan’s three national forests: the Huron-Manistee in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Hiawatha and Ottawa forests in the Upper Peninsula. Permits allow people to cut a Christmas tree within designated areas of the forest.

Trees are for personal use only and cannot be sold. All stumps must be cut within 6 inches of the ground, and you may not take a tree taller than 20 feet. You have to take the whole tree; don’t cut the top off of a taller tree.

If stomping through deep snow in the forest isn’t your jam, or you don’t live close to a national forest, good news: Michigan is among the nation’s top producers of Christmas trees and there are plenty of you-cut farms to help you find the perfect tree to bring a little piece of the forest inside for your holiday season.

To make sure your fresh tree stays that way, cut off about an inch on the base after you get it home to make sure it can take up water. Use a Christmas tree stand with a large water reservoir and check it daily. Display your tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents or south-facing windows. Only use lights certified as safe by Underwriters Laboratories. Never leave lights on when you’re not home.

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