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Bozeman Christmas Tree Permits and Water Recipe to Keep Your Tree Fresh

Shopping For Christmas Trees
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Nothing beats the fresh scent of pine on winter nights in Bozeman. I absolutely loved having a real Christmas tree in our house as a kid and I like to keep the tradition going. Luckily, living in Bozeman we have lots of options – including chopping down a tree.

Also, with the cold temperatures and abundance of snow right now, be prepared to let the snow melt off the tree in your home. The best place is in a tiled kitchen or a room with a drain.

Locations in Bozeman to buy a tree

  • Gallatin Valley Mall Parking Lot
  • Four Corners
  • Across from Bozeman High School
  • Boy Scouts selling trees just West of Johnny Carino’s
  • Home Depot
  • Walmart
  • Smiths

Chopping down a tree

Each year between mid November and and the end of December, Bozeman Forest Service Office will sell permits to allow you to cut down your own Christmas tree in any National Forest around Bozeman. The permits range from office to office but generally are around $10.

Requirements when cutting down your tree:

  • Tree trunk size must be less than 6 inches in diameter
  • Cut the trunk 6 inches from the ground. Cutting just the top of a tree off is not permited
  • Cut trees growing close together to help thin the forest
  • Chainsaws are prohibited. Only handsaws are allowed to cut down the tree. The forest officials will know what tool you used by examining the trunk of the tree when you return.
  • Make permit visible on tree for easy check-out

The National Forest Service even provides a few tips in to keep your Christmas tree fresh longer.

When you get home, re-cut the end of the tree by 1 inch and let it stand in a bucket of the “Christmas Tree Life Extending Formula” (recipe below) until you’re ready to bring it indoors. Fill the tree stand reservoir twice a day (morning and evening) with the remaining mixture.

Fire Minimizing Mixture and Directions


  • 2 gals. of hot water
  • 2 cups corn syrup
  • 2 oz. liquid bleach
  • 2 pinches epsom salts
  • 1/2 tsp. borax
  • 1 tsp. chelated iron (available at garden shops)

The corn syrup provides sugar, which allows the tree to soak up a lot more water than it normally would. Without sugar, only a small amount of water is absorbed by the branches and needles. You can expect the tree to soak up 1-1/2 gallons of the recipe during the 10 to 14 day period your tree is up, which is about 800 percent more water than it would have absorbed growing in the forest.

The boron (in the borax) makes the water and sugar move to every needle of your tree. The epsom salts and chelated iron provide magnesium sulfate which helps chlorophyll production, keeping your needles green. Bleach stops mold from forming when water and sugar stand too long in the tree holder.


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