Real Christmas Trees - A renewable resource
The American consumer has many choices for Christmas trees to choose from. As the public has educated itself in recent years, the environmentally friendly choice is decidedly for real trees.
Besides being a renewable crop that cleans our air while growing, they have a traditional look and they have a fragrant smell. These elements make for a pleasant holiday atmosphere in your home. Upon disposal the trees are typically chipped to aid in growing other plants, used for fish habitat, and used to make new products.
Don’t buy a fake tree that will look cheap, hurt the environment, feed rodents in your home, and fill your landfills. Buy a real tree and support America’s greatest renewable resource, produced by an American labor force in accordance with high environmental standards. Maintain control of your own environmental destiny by purchasing renewable trees grown locally and sustainably.
Americas Great Renewable Resource: Environmental Facts
- Environmental Considerations
- Real Christmas trees are typically grown on farms just like any other crop making them an environmentally sustainable renewable resource.
- Some, like our Silvertips, are grown in the wild, and harvesting them helps reduce fire fuels. The Forest Service grants permits to cut trees where fire fuels reduction is important.
- Most people do not understand that a tree is not killed when it yields a Christmas tree. The common practice is to cut above the bottom whorl or two. This practice allows one of the branches to become the leader and continue growing by turning upward. Often the same stump will grow 4 or 5 trees before the stump becomes too large and unruly.
- Real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gasses and emit fresh oxygen. Every acre of Christmas tree grown produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people.
- A single farmed tree absorbs more than 1 ton of carbon dioxide throughout its lifetime. With more than 350 million real Christmas trees growing the U.S. tree farms alone, you can imagine the yearly amount of carbon sequestering associated with these trees.
- Farms that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies, and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often Christmas trees are grown on soil that won't support other crops.
- Tree farms are usually located near major interstates reducing the cost and impact of transportation.
- There are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs around the U.S. Real trees can be easily recycled, unlike artificial trees.
- In order to ensure a healthy supply of Christmas trees each year, growers must use sustainable farming techniques. For each tree harvested, one to three seedlings are planted the following spring, ensuring a healthy supply of trees.
- Tree Farming in America
- According to the USDA, almost all of the real Christmas trees sold in the U.S. are grown by U.S. farmers. On average, 25-30 million real trees are sold each year. This helps employ over 100,000 workers in all 50 states.
- Proper land management
- Between rotations, tree farms not only rest the soil but improve it by adding appropriate nutrients and planting Sudan grass to add several tons per acre of humus (green manure) building material back into the soil. This helps significantly to keep erosion from happening, in addition to its soil building benefits.
- A tree farm developed a straw water bar erosion control system in the 1980s which, when erosion measurements were taken by the state Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, showed no appreciable erosion on even the steepest slopes planted. Over 200 tons per year of grass straw is placed throughout the farm to eradicate erosion potential. An additional benefit is that residual seed in the straw germinates and provides not only additional help with erosion control but also cover and food for small birds and animals.
- Silvertips are typically grown in the wild without any pesticides
- Farm grown trees may utilize pesticides in accordance with their integrated pest management permit, granted by Department of Agriculture. Usually, those pesticides have evaporated by the time the tree is harvested.
Forests in the American West are being devastated by pests, creating a much higher fire risk. The use of pesticides is helping to rid our forests of these devastating pests. The fires resulting from these pests pours tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and has created many of the mega fires that California has recently experienced.
Why buy real Christmas trees vs Artificial trees?
- Fake Tree Material
- Artificial trees are typically a petroleum-based product.
- According to The Sierra Club, “PVC products are dangerous to our health and the environment from start to finish -- in the factory, at home, and in the trash -- releasing poisonous chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects.” They are also partly made out of lead for the stand and limbs
- PVC is non-biodegradable.
- Artificial trees are flammable and produce PVC and lead based smoke that is extremely harmful to your health.
- Over 85% of fake trees are produced in China and Thailand. Labor standards are well below that of American labor and environmental standards.
- Human rights organizations routinely complain about the working conditions for laborers in these artificial tree farm factories. They site underage labor, lead-based products, low wages, and long hours for their complaints.
- Energy Costs:
- Artificial trees manufactured overseas create tremendous amounts of carbon emissions. In order to get their products to the US market these outlets use ships, trucks, distributors, middlemen, and retailers to deliver products to consumers.
- These factories consume tremendous amounts of energy in production.
- Storage and Disposal
- Each year, many fake trees are eaten by rodents attracted to the plastic and nesting possibilities.
- The average family uses an artificial tree for only six to nine years before throwing it away, where it will remain in a landfill for centuries after disposal.
- One must store the fake tree and many people don’t have the space or inclination to do so
- They consume much space each year in landfills.
- The cost of an artificial tree is usually high as the economics of manufacturing and shipping drive up the cost. Retail prices usually take this into account and recognize that a consumer will reuse the product for several years.
- Many tariffs exist on products produced in China, resulting in higher costs to the consumer.
- Holiday pleasure
- Most American households value the fragrance and appearance of a traditional real tree.
- Artificial trees are often seen as cheap and substandard in America.
- Artificial trees are often viewed as very environmentally unfriendly.