Cut your own Christmas tree at Paterson’s Lazy Acres

  • Tuesday, December 7, 2004 9:00pm

One of the greatest joys of the holiday season is selecting the Christmas tree. Whether you like the fragrant Grand fir, a sturdy Noble fir or the traditional Douglas fir, the key element is getting one thats fresh. The best way to do that is to cut it yourself.

Patersons Lazy Acres Tree Farm in Arlington offers a chance to pick out the just-right tree and have the old-fashioned fun of cutting it down yourself.

Its all choose and cut it yourself at this farm, said Lazy Acres owner Linda Paterson. I only sell direct to the public. I dont sell to Christmas tree lots.

Seventy-five saws are on hand to use and on the weekends theres a group of strong young men to assist with cutting and carrying. Equipped with complimentary candy canes, customers are free to search among the farms 20,000 individual trees. Each variety of Christmas tree has special qualities that make it a favorite with their fans. Paterson doesnt hesitate to name her favorite tree: Its the Frasier fir.

The thing I like best about the Frasier is that it doesnt drop needles, Paterson explained. It has a shorter needle that lasts tremendously. I usually put mine up a few days after Thanksgiving and I dont take it out until a few days after the first of January. They really last.

She also believes the Frasier fir is better for people with allergies or asthma. Paterson is allergic to trees, yet she has no allergic symptoms when there is a Frasier fir in her house. The Noble fir is similar to the Frasier in looks and lasting qualities. These two hardier varieties cost a little more because they are extremely slow growing.

For fragrance, Paterson suggests a Grand fir. This variety with its graceful boughs and longer, flatter needles has a sweet yet spicy pine smell that permeates the whole room.

But they do drink a lot of water, Paterson said. You have to watch their water carefully. People also like the Norway spruce, partly because its very hard to burn. Its also very short needled and very prickly. Its a little uncomfortable to decorate, but on the other hand it also teaches kids and pets dont touch.

The other tree found at Lazy Acres is the Douglas fir. This is the tree that people think of as the standard Christmas tree. Paterson currently has some specimens up to 14 feet tall. Her prices, however, arent based on height like at a tree lot. Any Douglas fir on the property is $25 (plus tax) regardless of height. Price is determined by variety rather than size. Grand fir and Norway spruce are $30, while the long lasting Noble and Frasier firs are $35.

People looking for larger trees should shop early while theyre still available. Everything is first come, first served. The farm also has a large selection of ornaments and handmade wreaths in various sizes. Surprisingly, Paterson does not carry tree stands but she has a recommendation.

The best thing is a tree stand that holds at least a gallon of water. And keep it always full with good plain water. Thats what the state recommends, too. You dont need those tree preservatives. Just keep it well watered.

Once the tree has been selected and cut, Patersons Tree Farm visitors return to the main tent and warm up with free hot coffee and cider. On Sundays theres a raffle for a $20 check toward purchase of a turkey or ham.

Paterson also has a tree baler available. For $1, customers can have their tree tightly bundled in nylon net for the drive home. Its worthwhile if you have a long way to travel or have narrow doors to go through once you get the tree back home.

Patersons Lazy Acres Tree Farm is a family operation that has been in business for more than 25 years. Linda Paterson took over the business from her father, Walter Paterson, who still oversees the fun from a house adjoining the property.

This seasons tree farm hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. The farm closes Dec. 20. Its location is 1315 188th St. NE in the Smokey Point area. From I-5 take Exit 206 for Highway 531 and 172nd Street NE. Go west on 172nd to 19th Avenue NE and turn right. Turn left onto 188th Street NE. The tree farm is on the right, after a few blocks. For more information, call (360) 652-7661.