There’s nothing quite like the smell of a Christmas tree to get you in the holiday spirit. Whether you get a fraser fir or a white spruce, in the United States, picking out and setting up your tree is an important part of holiday preparations. But have you ever given much thought to where your tree comes from or what all goes into the long, long process of getting the trees to where you’re picking them out? You may be surprised to find out there are many benefits that Christmas tree farming bring to both our environments and local economies. Let’s find out more.
1. The average Christmas tree has been growing for quite a while.
Most tree varieties take a minimum of six to eight years to grow to the 6-7’ you’re looking for in your average Christmas tree.
2. If your tree is cut late enough in the season, it can last you to Saint Patrick’s Day.
If the tree is cut late in the season, it’s needles will have a chance to “set,” meaning they’ll be less likely to fall off the branches. To achieve this however, the trees have to go through several frosts. If cut late enough and kept cold, trees can last months!
3. Christmas tree farms act as a gigantic air purifier.
One acre of real Christmas trees consumes about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. That same acreage produces about 1000 pounds of oxygen annually. Guess what: that’s the same amount that 18 people need to breath in a year.
A mature forest grows slower, so they produce less oxygen. It’s the fast-growing (6, 7, 8-year-old) trees that are making the oxygen because they’re producing food more quickly.
5. The Christmas trees you buy probably started out as indoor trees.
Many farmers get tree from greenhouses when they are just small plants and raise them in pots until they are strong enough to be planted in fields.
6. These trees are seriously social.
Most Christmas tree farms have anywhere from 300 to 500 trees growing at a given time.
7. You can get a locally grown tree in every region of the United States.
Always ask your Christmas tree retailer, “how far has this tree traveled to get to me?” This way you can ensure you’re buying a fresher tree and supporting local growers.
8. Worried about fires? Turns out they’re easy to avoid.
A well-hydrated tree is a lot safer to keep in your house. Just like us, our trees need to stay hydrated. Maybe this year you can make a plan to water your tree when you’re pouring your nightly glass of wine.
9. The Christmas tree industry is a 15 million dollar a year industry in New York State alone.
Based solely on tree sales, it’s about an 8 million dollar industry, but you have to consider the other parts. Christmas tree farmers hire local people, buy fertilizer and tractor supplies locally, invest in local banks. When you consider all of that, the industry it HUGE.
10. Recycling your tree provides even more environmental benefits.
The sanitation department in many cities collect trees from curbsides after Christmas and turn them into mulch for the city parks.
To find out more about the Christmas tree traditions, Christmas tree care, and the benefits of buying a real tree, visit the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York’s website. If you live in the New York area, also visit the website to find out about the tree varieties grown in NYS and where to find a tree.