When it comes to Christmas trees ... Theres no shortage in East County
Keep it fun when searching for your holiday centerpiece
It's that time of year - or in other words, 'tis the season - when many families in East County will head out to farms and lots on their search for the perfect Christmas tree.
At Oxbow Rim Tree Farm in Gresham, Jim Wambaugh has sold Christmas trees for 34 years. Some of his customers have visited the farm for as long as he's been in business.
'That's what makes you feel young: when (parents) bring in their kids and say, 'Yeah, I came here as a kid,' ' he says with a laugh.
About 90 percent of Wambaugh's noble, grand, pine and Douglas firs, available as pre-cut or U-cut, are grown and cut from his nine-acre farm. He estimates he sells anywhere from 650 to 800 trees during the holiday season. He also sells flocked trees, tree stands, wreaths and garland. Oxbow Rim also will clean and bale pre-cut trees for free.
One of Wambaugh's pieces of advice: leave the bale twine on the tree until you set it up in the house, and then slowly cut the twine from top to bottom. Wambaugh says it's easier to get the tree through the door and to get the best foliage.
To add to the Christmas tree-shopping experience, each year Wambaugh and his wife, Lori, transform the farm into a holiday wonderland.
The Christmas shop has about 3,300 ornaments for sale, as well as figurines, lights and other items. Wambaugh also sets up the Christmas Charity Falls in which customers can make a wish and toss in their loose coins; the money is matched by Oxbow Rim and donated to the Shriners Hospital.
In the cafeteria, customers can enjoy hot and cold beverages, chili, corndogs, chilidogs, nachos, curly fries, burgers and the biggest seller, elephant ears.
There's also a children's area for kids to play games, enjoy a candy cane and win prizes by spinning a wheel. Adults can also spin the wheel and try to win a free Oregon state scratch-off lottery ticket, Wambaugh says.
'We wanted to make this the best, or as close to the best place, as we could' for the Christmas experience, he says. 'I think we've accomplished that.'
Finding the right tree
Before setting out to purchase their perfect Christmas tree, families should remember to measure the amount of space in their home they have for the tree, Wambaugh says, measuring for both the tree stand and for the height and width of the tree. Families also should pick a tree that will accommodate the most ornaments, he says.
Families also should make sure their tree stand will be able to accommodate the size and weight of the tree and contain an adequate amount of water, he says.
'The biggest mistake people make is buying cheap tree stands,' he says, noting many of the cheap, plastic stands are not designed to last more than a few years.
Wambaugh says people should think about how long they want to leave their tree up in their home. In his opinion, noble firs have the best needle retention, followed by pines, grands and Douglas firs.
For families who want to make sure their money stays in Oregon, Wambaugh recommends buying trees from a local farm or from a tree lot that has a farm connected to it.
Most importantly, Wambaugh reminds people to enjoy the experience of shopping for a Christmas tree.
'That's what the whole thing is about: having a fun time,' he says.
The Outlook has compiled a list of area farms that specialize in selling Christmas trees, which are available as U-cut and pre-cut trees.
It's a good idea to call the farm ahead of time to check on its tree stock and to make sure it has the types and sizes of trees that you're looking for. You also should check on pricing and payment options, as some tree farms only accept cash.
Bob'z Tree Farm
• 28821 S.E. Powell Valley Road, Gresham
• 503-663-4505 or bobzgardencenter.com
• 9 a.m. until dusk on weekends until Dec. 21
Noble, Turkish, Douglas and grand firs, U-cut or fresh-cut. Services include saws, wreaths, beverages, restrooms, mistletoe/holly, greenery, handmade wreaths and tree stands. Bob'z also offers cutting assistance, retrieval from the field and loading.
Couturier Tree Farm
• 16503 S.E. Foster Road, Gresham
• Open 10 a.m. to dark weekdays and 9 a.m. to dark on weekends, Dec. 4-12.
Douglas and grand firs up to 20 feet tall. Services include saws and cutting assistance, free shaking and netting, restrooms, candy canes, loading assistance and removal bags. Couturier also accepts its trees back for disposal at no cost.
Oxbow Rim Tree Farm
• 34623 S.E. Homan Road, Gresham
• 503-663-6815 or visit its Facebook page
• Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until Dec. 24
Nobles, grands, Douglas and pine firs, with U-cut and pre-cut options. Services and features include flocked trees, tree stands, wreaths, free cleaning and baling for pre-cut trees, a Christmas shop with more than 3,300 ornaments, a cafeteria with sit-down booths, a children's play area and prizes.
• 33109 S.E. Oxbow Drive, Gresham
• 503-663-7624 or shriverfarms.com
• Open 10 a.m. until dusk
Grand, noble, Fraser and Nordmann firs, Norway spruce and more. U-cut or pre-cut options.
Olcott's Christmas Trees
• 43120 S.E. Deverell Road, Corbett
• Open from 9 a.m. until dusk on weekends; call for weekday hours.
Noble firs and seasoned firewood. Services and features include handsaws, beverages, cordage and tie materials and cutting assistance.
Dutcher's Tree Farm
• 33755 S.E. Compton Road, Boring
• 503-663-4127 or DutchersFarm.com
• Open daily from 8 a.m. to dark until Dec. 23
Douglas, grand, noble and unsheared Douglas firs. Services include saws, wreaths, flocking, tree baling and restrooms. Dutcher's also sells flocked trees, wreaths, candle arrangements, decorations, handcrafted gifts and farm animals.
• 36210 S.E. Highway 211, Boring
• 503-668-4525 or sandyfarms.com
• Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Douglas, noble and grand firs. U-cut or we-cut options. Services include saws for customers, cutting assistance and tree baling. Also enjoy complimentary candy canes, cocoa and coffee.
Van Diest Farm
• 11221 S.E. 352nd Ave., Boring
• 503-701-4580 or 503-504-7012
• Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (call ahead) and from dawn to dusk on weekends, Dec. 24
Nobles. Services include cutting assistance and tree baling.
Alder Creek Farms
• 53895 E. Highway 26, Sandy
• 503-622-6365 or 503-781-7707
• Open 10 a.m. until dark on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Dec. 18
Noble and grand firs. U-cut only. Services include saws, cutting assistance, restrooms and baling. Free hot chocolate, coffee and snacks.
Beissmann Tree Farm
• 38075 S.E. Boitano Road, Sandy
• Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Christmas
Noble, grand and Douglas firs. U-cut or pre-cut, and tree baling offered free. Wreaths and handmade crafts and toys are available.
• 45280 S.E. Coalman Road, Sandy
• Open from 10 a.m. to dark on weekends and noon to dark on weekdays through Dec. 18
Noble, grand, Shasta, balsam and Douglas firs, with more than 7,000 trees to choose from. U-cut trees. No power saws.
Hamburg 4D Tree Farm
• 36731 S.E. Hauglum Road, Sandy
• 503-668-8007 or hamburg4dtreefarm.com
Noble and grand firs up to 12 feet tall. Services and features include saws, beverages and candy canes, a fireplace on a covered deck, cutting assistance and help with carrying the tree. Free apple cider, hot chocolate and chili are provided on the weekends. Free crafts are available for families, and table arrangements and swags are for sale.
Harrison's Christmas Tree Farm
• 48080 S.E. Coalman Road, Sandy
• Open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday to Sunday until Christmas
Noble firs and wreaths. U-cut or we-cut services and baling. Accepts Visa credit cards.
Christmas Tree Choose and Cut
• 32480 S.E. Highway 211, Eagle Creek
• 503-637-3590 or 503-637-6404
• Open 9 a.m. to dusk on weekends until Dec. 22; call for weekday hours.
Noble, Douglas, grand and Nordmann trees. Services include saws, wreaths, beverages, cutting assistance, restrooms, mistletoe and holly.
Keep your tree fresh, then dispose of it
The Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association offers the following recommendations on how to keep Christmas trees fresh.
• Make a fresh cut on the tree stem to open up the pores and allow the tree to drink water. The fresh-cut surface should be creamy white, not yellow or brown. Cut off at least one half-inch and put the tree in water as soon as possible.
• If the tree is not going into the house soon after purchase, store it in a bucket of water on a cool porch or patio away from the wind and freezing weather.
• Add clean, cold water to the tree stand every day: an average tree may consume between a quart and a gallon of water a day.
• Consider using miniature lights for the decorations, as they produce less heat and reduce the drying effect upon the tree.
• Keep the tree away from heat sources such as heating vents, fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, television sets and windows.
• When you're ready to dispose of the Christmas tree, prepare it for curbside recycling by removing all ornaments, tinsel, lights and the stand. Each city may have different rules for how to recycle Christmas trees, so call Metro Regional Government's recycling hotline at 503-234-3000 or visit www.bit.ly/uBhxwH for recycling guidelines.
• Also check for nonprofit organizations that may collect Christmas trees for fundraisers.