How to Choose a Christmas Tree

Choosing a Christmas tree may not be as simple as you think.
There are real trees, artificial trees and even still-living trees.
So, which one of these do you choose? Here’s a list of the pros and
cons for each type.

Real Trees
Trees produce oxygen and consume carbon dioxide, which makes them
eco-friendly. According to the
National Christmas
Tree Association
over 30 million people buy real trees each
year.
Doityourself.com
states that for every tree harvested there are three more that are
planted each year. A real tree can also be

recycled
. Many trees are thrown into lakes, giving fish a
natural habitat, or they’re turned into mulch.

That all might sound good, but there is a downside. Not all of
the trees are found locally. Transportation is still part of the
process and may counter the other benefits. Buying locally can
help. Many farms also use pesticides so you will want to find a
certified organic tree farm in your area.

Green Promise
publishes a

list
of organic tree farms.
Puget Sound Fresh
also lists local farmers markets and farms that have trees. Local
co-ops, natural grocery stores and farmers markets may also have
listings for organic trees. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is
another type of farm management system. These are not as
environmentally friendly as organic farms but are better than
conventional farms that routinely spray trees.

Fake Trees
About 70 percent of people
bought an
artificial
tree
last year, despite the fact that they are made from
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and metals.
PVC is a potential source of
hazardous lead. Most, about 85 percent, are imported from China.
Many even contain warnings about the products used in them.
Artificial trees are not biodegradable so they will stay in
landfills for years to come.

One eco-friendly aspect of these trees is that they can be
reused year after year. On average, they are used for five to 10
years. One

CNN report
claims that some parts of an artificial tree may be
recycled, depending on what the tree is made of. Check on how the
tree was made and packaged before buying.
Balsam Hill makes
artificial trees that contain less PVC than most fake trees. You
could also consider an aluminum tree.

Live Trees
The first thing to consider
with a live tree is if you can handle

planting a tree
. Potted trees will need a lot of care to
survive until being planted. Many trees will not be able to live
indoors until spring when the ground has thawed. Do a little
research to find a species native to your area that can survive in
a container for several months. Check with your local greenhouse
for the best options.

There is always the option of getting a potted tabletop tree
that could be planted in your yard or a local park. A tree from
your own yard could also be left outside and decorated each
year.

For more information, search for ‘Christmas tree’ at
www.MotherEarthNews.com.
Do you have other creative eco-friendly suggestions? Post a comment
below.