With Thanksgiving now behind us, it’s the ideal time to pick out a tree for the Christmas season. For many of us, no artificial tree will do — we need that fresh pine smell and outdoorsy essence. Plus, making a day out of cutting down the family Christmas tree can create a memorable holiday tradition. The North Fork has about a half dozen tree farms you’ll want to consider for all your holiday tree shopping needs.
Darts Christmas Tree Farm
Those looking for more dramatic, vibrant tree colors than even blue spruces can offer, may want to venture into the Magic Color Forest at Darts. These fantastical Fraser firs have been reportedly transformed by magic, resulting in wild colors like bubble gum pink, snowfall white, sugar plum purple, deep sea azure and more. This holiday fantasy is open daily, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 2355 Main Road, Southold. 631-369-1300, dartschristmastreefarm.com
Fink’s Country Farm
This Wading River farm has been offering a wide selection of Christmas trees for about five decades, and its’s still going strong. Visitors can choose from Douglas, Fraser, concolor (white) and noble fir trees, as well as wreaths and roping. Get there at 9 a.m. when they open each day to beat the rush. Guests may even see Santa on weekend afternoon through December 19. 6242 Middle Country Road, Wading River. 631-886-2272, finksfarm.com
Head into Lewin Farms’ Baiting Hollow Nursery for the perfect tree — either pre-cut or ready to be. These trees include Douglas fir, blue spruce and Norway spruce ranging in size from 1–15 feet tall, though all cost the same $45 (cash only). Lucky visitors may even find a large white pine amid the greens and blues. 812 Sound Avenue, Calverton. 631-929-4327, lewinfarm.com
Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm
Peruse over 8,000 Douglas firs, each standing about 6–7 feet tall with appealing shape and density. Santa’s little helpers will assist as you cut down your chosen tree and tie it to your vehicle at no extra charge. Be sure to call ahead for info on Santa photo-ops, ice skating and more holiday fun. The 28-acre farm and Christmas shop are open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 30105 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-735-9242, santaschristmastreefarm.com
Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm
Family owned and operated since 1987, this farm offers a solid mix of tree options for the family to choose from: Douglas firs in the field, standing 5–9 feet tall; pre-cut Fraser firs, 7–12 feet tall; 4-foot potted spruce trees; 5-foot balled trees; and 4-foot Charlie Brown trees. They also offer customized tabletop centerpieces, wreaths and other decorations, plus gifts, wine and more. They’re open daily, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. 20685 Main Road, Mattituck. 631-298-4619, shamrockchristmastreefarm.com
This 70-acre farm includes 15 acres devoted to choice Christmas trees, ready to cut. They’ve also got wreaths, roping, kissing balls, and maybe even visits from Santa on weekend afternoons through December 12. They’re open 9:30 a.m. to dusk, seven days a week. 11825 Oregon Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-5036, zuhoskitreefarm.com
Know Your Christmas Trees
White Pine: The largest pine tree in the U.S. is a classic choice for Christmas. It’s got soft green needles and an almost bush-like appearance, despite its towering height. And it doesn’t shed too much, making cleanup much easier.
Douglas Fir: One of the most popular and versatile Christmas tree options on the East End, sporting that classic holiday green and sweet scent. Its branches are more dispersed than the white pine, making ornament visibility a non-issue.
Fraser Fir: Another solid green option, with a great smell and strong durability. Its branch density falls somewhere between the white pine and the Douglas fir, making it both lush and ideal for ornaments.
Concolor (White) Fir: This tree has a nice symmetrical shape and soft needles, with a color that tends to lean more toward more of a pale green or blue than its fellow firs.
Noble Fir: This is a green tree with a narrow base and horizontal branches that add to its minimalist charm — decorations or bare, it looks great in just about any Christmas setting.
Blue Spruce: For those who aren’t so keen on green, these trees come in blue, teal and gray, and they feature extra strong branches and a low shed rate. Beware the needles, though, because those pricks will hurt.
Norway Spruce: It’s got a dark green color, strong branches and sharp needles, though not quite as prickly as the blue spruce.