Pine and Cedar differences

Note the similarity between pine (left) and cedar (right) trees. The Christmas tree permit is only for cedar trees less than 10 feet tall with stumps less than 4 inches tall.

Free cedar Christmas tree permits and information including maps and cutting guidelines will be available Nov. 26-Dec. 24 on the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area website: Permits can only be obtained online.

A permit entitles a family to cut one cedar tree between Nov. 26 and Dec. 24. Cedar trees may be cut anywhere in Land Between the Lakes (LBL) except:

  • Within sight of U.S. Highway 68/Ky. Route 80
  • Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway
  • Cemeteries
  • Nature Watch Areas
  • Campgrounds
  • Facilities, including the Elk & Bison Prairie
  • Other mowed areas

“Taking the family out into the woods to look for the perfect Christmas tree is a great holiday tradition. Check along roadsides or within old forest openings to find your tree,” said Yvonne Antes, silviculturist at Land Between the Lakes. “The cedar tree program also helps Land Between the Lakes maintain open lands and promote diverse wildlife habitat.”

Trees must be cedar, less than 10 feet tall, and stumps must be less than 4 inches tall. Chain saws may be used. Use of trucks, winches, tractors, or other heavy equipment is prohibited. Cutting rules and regulations can be found on the reservations page.

Whether families cut or purchase a tree, they should follow these safety guidelines for choosing and using a cut tree in their home this Christmas:

  • Choose a fresh tree. If needles fall off easily, the tree is dry and can easily catch on fire.
  • When setting up your tree, cut the base off two inches above the original cut to help the tree absorb more water.
  • Place the tree in a stable, tip-proof container and water it daily.
  • Place the tree away from heat sources such as heating vents, wood stoves, or open flames.
  • Be sure decorative lights are UL approved and in good condition. Never leave tree lights on while asleep or away from home. LED lights are a great way to save energy.
  • Discard the tree when it begins to show signs of drying, such as brown or yellow coloration, or excessive needle dropping.