Christmas Trees

I always go to a local Christmas tree farm and cut down my own tree. My friends always try to make me feel like a monster for cutting the poor tree down, but I reason that it was raised on the farm for this purpose, not taken from a National Forest or something. I also always think that it’s probably better environmentally to get a local, freshly cut tree than to buy one that’s been trucked in from several states away or to use a fake one that’s make of unknown chemicals. Am I kidding myself here just because I like my real tree?

So what kind of Christmas tree should an environmentally-conscious person get? Have there been any studies?

If you want a real tree, buying a live tree might be the most environmentally friendly, assuming you have some place to plant it.

Isn’t the whole “buy local” movement predicated on buying things from a 160 km radius of your purchasing location? They must have studied it.

FWIW, Christmas trees are a crop just like sorghum and alfafa.

Slate’s Green Lantern on whether real or artificial Christmas trees are better for the environment.

In all fairness . . . do you research the chemical composition of every product you buy?

Planting is not strictly necessary for live trees. Growing up in CA, my family got at least five years out of a potted live tree that was about 6 feet tall at the start and 8 feet at the end. We took it outside 11 months out of the year, and had it inside for December. Ultimately, it was done in one summer when we moved a basketball hoop in front of it and missed shots broke off a bunch of branches.

That’s some interesting information, thanks. They estimate that fake trees will last 15 years though, when the people I know that have them seem to get a new one after 5 or fewer years. They start to look a little sad and not as fluffy after a few years, I guess.

I wonder if aluminum trees last any longer. At least those would be recyclable?

An environmentally conscious person would have an artifical tree and make sure to sue it year after year so as to not require too much petrochemicals to make more.

A true granola-type would have a live, with roots in a bucket tree and plant the tree outdoors after the holidays.

Aluminum trees last quite a while.

My aluminum tree is thirty some years old, maybe forty or more.

It does lose 10-20 “needles” when we set it up, so we don’t use it every year. It would be recyclable, but it’s worth too much as a collectible to think about that.

You could also make a case for live trees as a form of carbon sequestration.

Suing a Christmas tree?? That’s quite the concept. What if the Christmas tree wins?:smiley:

On environmental charges, moreover! I think the tree would come across very sympathetically to a jury.

You could always use an aluminum Festivus pole :smiley:

You can buy them here.

A nice aluminum tree. Maybe painted pink!

I’m with the “Christmas tree is a crop” thinking. As for the notion that a suitable Christmas tree in a pot only grew two feet in 5 years, that’s got to be because the roots were restricted in the pot. Sort of like the old Chinese tradition of binding girls’ feet. Can’t imagine the tree was happy about it.

You can buy a Christmas Tree permit from many Forest Service and BLM offices so you can cut down your tree in a national forest or from BLM land. Depending upon the Forest, permits are either $5.00 or $10.00.

We did it one year and cut down a really nice 12-footer for only five bucks.

Not before hugging it a lot.

Trees are remarkably stoic (some might say wooden). They don’t seem to mind.

Real tree.

Being realistic here (ha ha): What is most likely to happen to land currently used to farm trees if the tree farm went belly up?

Further, I’d rather have my kids understand and appreciate the use of farm land and crops, rather than leaning towards cheap, shipped plastic from a country like China. I’d much rather see a tree farm at the end of the block than some other options (none of which are likely to be green).