Field of Science

How green is your Christmas tree?

Maybe this is a little late to help this season, but here's something to think about.  Our "live", or rather slowly dying fir (they have been cut after all.) is quite green and fragrant the more so that we buy cut trees early and put them in a bucket of water to maintain hydration as much as possible. This is usually about the time the rhododendrons and other shrubs prone to winter damage get "wilt-proofed".  This waxy spray also works great on cut trees and other cut greens, e.g., wreaths, to slow their dehydration and reduce the falling needles.  It also helps if the part of the house where you put the tree on display stays on the cool side at night and isn't in the direct blast of hot air from your furnace.  TPP regularly gets asked about whether real trees are better than artificial trees from an ecological perspective, and the answer is quite simply, yes.  Christmas trees are a sustainable, renewable crop on a seven to eight year cycle.  No one goes out and cuts trees from forests; they are a crop grown here in the northern portions of the USA or in the Great White North, that nice country above us.  Although this year a neighbor who decided to remove an offending blue spruce from his yard used the top for their Christmas tree and the bottom for their yule log.  Now artificial trees do last for years, but as Mrs. Phactor puts it, they have no fragrance forever.  They are made of metal and plastic, difficult to impossible to recycle, and probably manufactured in China.  So how green is all of that?  So have no guilt or even second thoughts about buying a real tree each year.  Tree farmers are depending on you. 


Steve Hayes said...

We planted ours, and look what happened Changes in Melmoth after 30 years | Hayes & Greene family history

Lindsay said...

Hi, Phytophactor!

Here's a project I'm excited about, from near where I live. They're trying to revert a tract of land where red cedars are currently growing back to prairie, so anyone who wants a free Christmas tree can go out there, and either cut their own tree or haul away one that's already been cut.

I thought I would mention it to you because I'm not a plant biologist or an ecologist, so I don't have an informed opinion on the whole prairie-restoration thing. But it looks like a win/win from this greenie's perspective.

(I noticed this before Christmas, but didn't get on the ball fast enough for my family to take advantage of it. Oh well. Maybe next year, if they're restoring any other sites.)

Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Phytophactor said...

Using red cedar is pretty green. A former colleague from Texas claims that red cedar is the one and only authentic Christmas tree.