People who enjoy cutting down their own Christmas tree can visit five evergreen tree farms along the Wasatch Front.

Lynn Criddle, who operates a Christmas tree farm at 2488 W. 300 North, West Point, Davis County, said he has sold more live trees this year than last."People started coming here at Thanksgiving and business has not let up since," he said.

Cutting down a live tree for Christmas can be a fine family tradition and lots of fun, Criddle said, and you don't have to worry about the needles falling off before Dec. 25.

Criddle, who has been growing evergreen trees since 1976, said Scotch and Austrian Pine are big sellers this year. He can be reached at 825-2325.

Four other Christmas tree farms, their addresses and phone numbers are:

- Donald Beck, 630 W. 1000 South, Alpine, 756-4078.

- Leroy Kapp, Mountain Green, Morgan County, 479-7836.

- Howard Riley, 1095 S. Main, Payson, 465-2707.

- Carl Ebert, on 2800 E. Ksel Drive (9400 South), Salt Lake County, 968-2602.

When it comes to buying and caring for a Christmas tree purchased from a lot or a grocery store, Sherm Thompson, Utah State University Extension specialist in plant pathology, has some suggestions.

Since a tree from a lot may have been cut weeks or even months ago, he advises against buying blue spruces "because they lose their needles fast, no matter what you do."

The five most widely sold Christmas trees nationally, in the United States, he said, are the Douglas fir, balsam fir, eastern red-cedar, Scotch pine and the eastern and western white pine.

He advises checking to see if the trees' needles are pliable and firmly attached to the branches - a sign of freshness; moderately free of moss, lichen, vines and other foreign matter; and well-trimmed and free of barren branches at the bottom of the tree.

Once you buy a tree, Thompson said, be sure to recut the butt at a diagonal about 1 inch above the original cut. This will open pores and aid in absorption when the tree is placed in a container of water.