For many families choosing a real Christmas tree is an important annual tradition. In Ontario, over 500 farms produce more than one million Christmas trees each year. According to recent polls, some of the most popular features of real Christmas trees include their attractive appearance and fragrance, as well as their positive environmental impacts. Despite these things, nearly half of respondents indicated that they would be choosing an artificial Christmas tree over a real one. To better understand and appreciate real Christmas trees, here are a few environmental benefits that real Christmas trees provide, as well as effective tips on choosing and caring for a Christmas tree:
Benefits of Real Christmas Tree
- Christmas trees are often raised on marginal land that wouldn’t support other types of agriculture
- Trees provide ecological goods and services such as wildlife habitat and soil & water retention
- Christmas tree plantations are effective carbon sinks, fixing carbon released by cars & jets
- One acre of Christmas trees produce enough oxygen for 18 people daily
- Real Christmas trees are 100% biodegradable and can be collected and used as mulch at municipal parks
Choosing a Real Christmas Tree
Decide you want a real Christmas tree but don’t know how to pick the best one? Keep reading for some helpful hints to make choosing your Christmas tree less stressful.
- Pine, fir & spruces are all common Christmas tree options. Spruce trees tend to lose their needles the fastest whereas fir trees shed their needles somewhat slower
- If you are purchasing a pre-cut tree make sure it is fresh. A freshly cut tree will last longer and its needles will stay on the branches, not your floor
- To check if a tree is fresh look for sap and/or moisture on the cut (found at the base of the trunk), also avoid trees with brown needles.
- The needles of pine and spruce trees should bend not break and they should be hard to pull from the branches
- If possible raise the tree just a few inches off the ground and drop it on the base of the trunk. Few needles should drop off, if hey do your tree may have been cut too long ago and already dried out
Caring for your Real Christmas Tree
Now that you have chosen a real Christmas tree there are a few things you can do to make it last the whole holiday season.
- With a saw, remove a 2 centimetre disk of wood from the bottom of the trunk, this will provide a clean cut through which the tree will absorb water
- Ensure that the tree has adequate water
- Display the tree away from direct heat to maintain moisture and the fresh look of the tree
- Some people will add floral preservatives, aspirin or even honey to tree stand water, however there is no evidence that doing this will extend the life of a real Christmas tree
Harvest Your Own Tree