Photo: Land Trust.

Pro Tips for an Excellent Tree Hunt

Nov 24, 2023 by Sarah Mowry
'Tis the season for the Land Trust’s annual Metolius Preserve Tree Hunt! Check out these pro tips to help you get ready for the hunt...

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'Tis the season for the Land Trust’s annual Metolius Preserve Tree Hunt! To help you find the perfect tree and have the best experience possible, we’ve pulled together some pro tips based on our years of tree hunting experience (or, really this is the list of the things we wish we would have done!).

Tree Hunt Pro Tips

  1. Measure your space. Make sure you know how tall of a tree you can actually put in your space, then bring your tape measure with you. Or, alternatively, use someone in your household as your measuring tape. Have them hold their hands above their head to the ideal height of your tree. Bring them to the Tree Hunt to do the same, and you have your very own measuring tape! And remember: trees always (always!) look smaller outside than they do once they are in your living room! Remember Christmas Vacation?!

  2. Check your tree stand. Will your tree stand be wide enough/heavy enough/big enough to hold your tree? Taller trees are heavier and require more robust stands. Or, alternatively, will your stand tighten down enough to hold a thin tree? If not, add wooden shims to your shopping list!

    A happy tree hunter with his trusty cutting carpet. Photo: Joan Amero.
    A happy tree hunter with his trusty cutting carpet. Photo: Joan Amero.
  3. Gather your tools. Remember only hand saws are allowed at the Metolius Preserve Tree Hunt (no chainsaws or electric saws). Sharp saws will cut your tree down more quickly. Our favorite saw is this handy, folding one. It’s pocket size, safer to carry, and leaves your hands free for lugging tired kiddos. Got rope? You’ll need something to tie your tree to the car. Pro tip from a tired parent = random canoe straps left in the back of the car work great! Something to kneel on? We love these happy tree hunters (at left) who were smart enough to bring something to kneel on! Old carpet, plastic bag, gardening cushion—they all work to keep your knees comfy and dry when you are cutting your tree.

  4. Know your trees. We are cutting grand fir trees at the Metolius Preserve Tree Hunt. If you are looking for noble fir, spruce, or another option—check elsewhere for your tree—it’s grand fir we need to thin to help restore our forests! Then, learn the difference between grand fir and Douglas fir as best you can before the Tree Hunt. These will be the two trees you have to distinguish between once you are at the Tree Hunt. Rest assured, the Land Trust is here to help. Watch these videos on ID, then plan on grabbing a sample of a grand fir bough from the Tree Hunt check in.

  5. Dress and download. check the weather in Camp Sherman the day before you come and dress in lots of layers! Weather can change quickly in the winter and you want to be prepared for all options. Close-toed shoes are also important since you will be walking off-trail through the forest where sticks, branches, and other forest floor debris can snag tender toes. Finally, download our geoferenced map and load into a mapping app like Avenza so you can easily find where you are on site at the Tree Hunt.

  6. Cut wisely. Walk all the way around your tree before you cut it. Look for nests, brown branches, or other oddities. Remember these are free-range trees not sculpted like your average tree farm tree to be perfect. And, keep in mind that sometimes a flat side is helpful! Put that side towards the wall and give yourself more space!

  7. Transport it safely. Make sure you can see out of your vehicle, your tree is securely tied down, and it’s not hanging too far off the back. Bring a bright red bandana to hang off the end!

  8. Care for it at home. As soon as you get home, cute a thin slice off the trunk of the tree and put it in a bucket of water. (Even if you aren’t going to put it up right away!) Then, water it regularly once you bring it inside. This will help your tree from drying out and keep it beautiful all season long!

Happy Tree Hunting!

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