There is nothing like the scent and beauty of a live Christmas tree to get your family in the spirit of the season. Not only do real trees look and smell “like Christmas,” they are also an agricultural crop — a renewable, recyclable resource that keep unwanted waste out of our landfills and are good for the environment.
The tradition of setting up a live evergreen in homes dates back to the early 1500s. Artificial trees weren’t introduced until 1883.
The first Christmas tree farm was started in New Jersey in 1901. That same year, President Theodore Roosevelt tried to stop the practice of having Christmas trees out of concern about the destruction of forests, but his two sons enlisted the help of a conservationist to persuade the president that, done properly, the practice was not harmful to forests. His cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, started a Christmas tree farm on his estate in Hyde Park, N.Y., in the 1930s.
There are at least 30 Christmas tree grower operations in Delaware, who invite you to bring the whole family on an outing to choose that special tree for your home. Some growers offer additional activities such as sleigh rides, train exhibits, hot chocolate and visits with Santa.
Choosing a fresh-cut or balled-and-burlapped Christmas tree over an artificial tree is the environmentally sound choice, according to the Delaware Christmas Tree Growers Association. Roseann Conlon, co-president, said, “Christmas trees do more than beautify. They are little environmentally friendly crops. They stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife.”
Often, Christmas trees are grown on soils that may not support other crops. It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree to 6 feet, but the average growing time is seven years. Meanwhile, these trees benefit the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen. This helps prevent the earth-warming “greenhouse effect.”
For every real Christmas tree harvested, three seedlings are planted in its place. Real Christmas trees are an all-American, recyclable resource. Rather than end up in a landfill, they are usually disposed of by being chipped up for landscaping or put into lakes and ponds for smaller fish to survive.
Artificial trees, most of which are manufactured in lands far away, consist of plastics and metals that aren’t biodegradable. When placed in a landfill, the artificial trees will never deteriorate. They remain there forever.
Consider joining thousands of families who will choose and cut their own tree from a Christmas tree farm this year, or take home a freshly cut tree. Look for member farms on DCTGA’s website, www.delawarechristmastreegrowersassn.com or visit the Department of Agriculture’s website: http://dda.delaware.gov/marketing/ChristmasTreeGuide.shtml.
Consider these important facts…
- Fake trees and wreaths are made from nonrenewable petroleum.
REAL Christmas trees and wreaths do not harm our environment and our resources.
- When a fake tree catches fire, it puts dangerous toxic fumes into the air.
A properly cared-for REAL Christmas tree will not catch fire easily. If and when it does, its fumes will certainly not be as toxic.
- Fake trees are manufactured mainly outside of the United States.
We hear much today about our economy being faced with a loss of jobs. Thousands of jobs have already been lost in the Christmas tree industry because the sale and use of fake trees and wreaths continues to be encouraged.