FARMINGTON — Christmas trees are beginning to arrive at local lots after long journeys, and some people are taking matters into their own hands by cutting down trees on public land.

Evergreen Nursery appears to be the first retailer offering live Christmas trees in the Farmington area. The nursery at 7401 E. Main St. offers cut Noble fir and Douglas fir, along with potted blue spruce trees.

The cut trees range from $25 to $199, and the potted trees start at $139.

Lynn Nix, manager at Evergreen Nursery, said demand for Christmas trees had declined.

"It has gone down over the years," she said.

Growers may be in short supply this winter. Nix said the nursery's order for Christmas trees wasn't entirely filled.

Willie Kutac, who owns Ku-Tips Nursery and Landscaping with his wife, Debbie, will bring in fewer than 100 Christmas trees this year. They are expected to arrive Wednesday.

"The artificial trees are much more popular now, unfortunately," he said. "There is a market, but it's a slim market, for the living trees. Personally, I'd like to see much more demand for living trees. But it's not there."

Ku-Tips will stock Douglas, Noble and Grand fir trees this year.

"The Douglas fir is the Ford of the trees, and the Cadillac is the Noble fir," he said.

Evergreen and Ku-Tips both get their Christmas trees from growers in western Oregon, a major tree-growing region.

Aside from the nurseries, local Boy Scouts will be selling Christmas trees in the 2100 block of East 20th Street beginning Friday. Trees will also be sold at a lot at Kmart, 3000 E. Main St.

Local residents who want a real tree can also harvest one on public land. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's office in Farmington sells permits for $5. Trees cannot be harvested in designated recreation areas, such as Glade Run.

The Farmington field office had sold about 50 tree harvesting permits by Monday, a number about equal to this time last year, said spokesman Bill Papich. Permits are available at the front desk of the new BLM building at 6251 College Blvd.

The former BLM building on La Plata Highway is closed.

Only pinon and juniper trees may be cut. Cutting Douglas fir and ponderosa pine is prohibited on BLM lands.

The U.S. Forest Service's Bloomfield office sells permits to cut trees on the Jicarilla Ranger District, part of Carson National Forest. Permits are $5 for trees 5-10 feet, $10 for trees 10-15 feet and $15 for trees 15-20 feet.

In 2011, Americans purchased 30.8 million natural Christmas trees and 9.5

million artificial trees, according to survey conducted by Harris

Interactive for the National Christmas Tree Association.

Real trees are more environmentally friendly, said Rick Dungey, spokesman

for the association.

"Because it's a plant, it's 100 percent biodegradable, as opposed to a bunch

of metal and plastic," he said.

Artificial trees — Dungey calls them "plastic, tree-shaped decorations" —

have no post-consumer use, he said.

"They're all going to end up in the landfill, 100 percent of them," he said.