Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Trees: Live or Artificial?

Many people eschew them for the real thing. But if the rush and madness at a local home center’s Black Friday sale is any indication, they are here to stay. Artificial Holiday trees. The $50 doorbuster sold out within nine minutes of the early store opening.

No, thank goodness I wasn't there at the sale. I bought my artificial tree earlier that week. But I've been having environmental guilt.

Artificial Tree?
Is the tree in my living room the best I could have done for the environment? I use reusable bottles, reusable coffee mugs, reusable plates, forks and knives. Is a reusable tree the same?

A Google search shows why my environmental Spider Sense is tingling. Many people don’t think artificial trees are helpful to the earth. Made in China. Shipped stateside. Contains dubious chemicals. Never degrade in landfills. The list goes on.

Live Tree?
So a live tree? Purchased at the same home center? Those trees get trucked in. Then a fire hazard. Then you hope your town will mulch them and not dump them in a landfill. On the upside, less pesticides than I expected. But it helps if you know your grower, which leads me to...

Cut it Yourself?
Home centers aren’t the only places for live trees. You can cut one down like my uncle’s family.  They get an ultra-fresh tree with less fire hazard. Personally, I worry about squirrels coming home with you. But they haven’t had issues and have decades of holiday chopping under their belts.

 Bulb Tree?
Lastly, the Internet greenies point to bulb trees. These are live trees that the nursery digs up, wrapping their roots in burlap. Then you bring the whole thing home. But there is a lot to think about when you buy a tree and make it a houseplant for a week. How to keep the roots wet? How to plant it in the frozen soil outside on December 26? How long can it stay inside the house (wow, you really should read this article: Also note that balled trees are really heavy. Like a 6” tree can be 200lbs. Check it out:

So my environmental guilt is well founded. But my cats can climb this tree as well as any other one, so at least they are happy. If you are in a Tree Quandary of your own, check out these articles for a little research:

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