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Over the Freeway and to the Woods: Trees for Cutting

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Before the advent of Christmas tree lots, an expedition into the forest to fell the perfect pine was an important holiday ritual. San Fernando Valley residents who are willing to drive a few miles--and wield a saw--can still cut their own trees at one of several farms.

What follows is a list of Christmas tree farms in or near the Valley. Most local farms grow Monterey pines, a bushy, long-needled coastal pine that can take the heat and is a brighter green than other pines and firs. All locations provide saws and assist in cutting, carrying and securing trees to vehicles.

The Christmas Ranch has 4,000 Monterey pines to choose from at its Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks locations. The trees, which are priced at $27.36, range from 5 to 12 feet in height. “The tall ones usually go first,” said Marilyn Cameron, who runs the ranch with her husband, Don. The Thousand Oaks location also offers about 400 cut Noble and Douglas firs, ranging from 5 to 8 feet, that sell from $20 to $60. Flocking and fire retardant is priced at $2.75 per foot.

The Simi Valley ranch, at 3800 Cochran Ave., is open from 9 a.m. until dusk Saturday and Sundays only. The Thousand Oaks ranch, at 1586 Pederson Road, is open noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (805) 527-6412.

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Harvest Hill Christmas Tree Farm, 15 miles west of Palmdale, has 700 Eldarica pines from which to choose. The trees are priced at $3.50 per foot and range from 3 to 7 feet.

“If people are coming from the San Fernando Valley, it’s best to wear warm clothes because it’s quite a bit colder up here,” said owner Ralph La Preziosa. “Usually if people come from down below, they freeze up.”

The tree farm, 14021 Elizabeth Lake Road in Lake Hughes, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday. (805) 724-1679.

Andrews Christmas Tree Farm in Chatsworth offers 400 Monterey pines ranging from 6 to 14 feet on its 1-acre parcel. “I don’t put price tags on anything below my shoulder,” said owner Jim Andrews, who has farmed there since 1984. The trees--none is shorter than 6 feet--are individually priced at $5 and $6 a foot.

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“They make a big deal out of it,” Andrews said of the people who come to cut trees. “They come with their kids and cameras and take pictures. We have a lot of fun, too.”

The farm is at 10946 Independence Avenue in Chatsworth, but the entrance is at De Soto Avenue and Rinaldi Street. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (818) 341-9858.

The Green and Fresh Christmas Tree Farm in Pasadena has 10,000 Monterey pines growing on its 5 1/2 acres, with about 2,500 trees to choose from. The trees, ranging from 4 to 13 feet, are individually priced from $19.99 to $31. Custom trees, which are extra wide and tall, sell for $50.

The farm, at 3190 East Del Mar Boulevard, is open 3:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (818) 792-6725.

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Windmill Christmas Tree Farm began as a family business in Santa Paula 18 years ago. The farm, now in Valencia, consists of 70 acres and 135,000 Monterey pines, with 30,000 of the trees ready for cutting. The 5- to 10-foot-tall trees sell from $23 to $32. Potted Italian Stone pines as tall as 3 feet sell for $10.

Windmill Christmas Tree Farm, at 25500 Rye Canyon Road, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (805) 255-6943.

Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Farm grows 10,000 Monterey pines and a few Eldarica pines on its 10 acres in Hacienda Heights. About 5,000 of the trees, ranging in height from 3 to 14 feet, are available for cutting; prices run from $3.50 to $5 per foot.

Grandpa’s, 16531 E. Colima Road, is open from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (818) 968-9804.

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Green Acres Christmas Trees in Sepulveda farms 8,000 Monterey pines on its 4 1/2 acres, with 1,700 of the trees available for cutting at $23.47 for trees up to 4 feet and $31.92 for those over 4 feet.

Christmas tree farming is a year-round job, said owner Craig Perry. “People think all you do is open the gates in December and rake in the money, without doing any work. And that’s not the case.” Perry said the trees need to be planted, pruned and shaped all year.

Green Acres, 16401 Roscoe Blvd., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (818) 892-1021.

Toluca Lake Christmas Trees has only seven 10-foot Monterey pines growing on its lot that customers may fell (each priced at $100). But the business offers other services such as delivery ($10) of its cut Douglas, Noble and Scotch pines, and Spruce and Grand firs, all ranging in height from 2 to 16 feet. The cut trees sell for $15 to $350.

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The company also will decorate your tree starting at $30 per foot for the basics and ending at $50 per foot for the works. White flocking is priced at $2 per foot and pink, red, silver or black flocking sells for as much as $5.

Potted live trees, including Spruce, Monterey, Italian Stone and Aleppo pines, ranging in height from 3 to 9 feet, sell from $15 to $175. The company also will pick up your used tree after the holidays for $25.

The tree lot, at 10601 Riverside Drive, is open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 midnight Saturday, and Sundays until 11 p.m. (818) 505-8039.


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