Christmas Trees

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by Junglekeeper, Dec 22, 2006.

?

Which type of Christmas tree do you consider to be more environmentally friendly?

  1. 1. A live tree

    18 vote(s)
    85.7%
  2. 2. An artificial tree

    3 vote(s)
    14.3%
  1. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Here's a poll in keeping with the season. Some points to consider before making your selection:
    • Live trees (grown specifically to serve the role) require inputs including land, water, fertilizer, and pesticide. Is it then wasteful to allocate resources to producing a consumable with a very short lifespan?
    • Fossil fuels are consumed to produce artificial trees along with a certain amount of pollution as a by-product. The trees are non-biodegradable but have the advantage of reuse.
    • The poll assumes one has decided to have a tree since not having one is the most environmental choice of all.
    On the lighter side, here is an alternative to a Christmas tree: A Festivus Pole for the rest of us.

    Festivus poles in the news.
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    so having a farmed, cut tree isnt considered at all?
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The poll assumes a live tree is farmed or "grown specifically to serve the role" of a Christmas tree.
     
  4. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    so a cut christmas tree from a tree farm would qualify? how about a 'charlie brown' tree, usually cut as a hydro clearance tree. I dont mean to poke fun at your thread but, as a christmas tree seller in certain seasons, I would like to be sort of clear before I take a stance. :)
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I assumed the majority of live trees sold nowadays are farmed. Let's say it's a choice between farmed and artificial. (Unfortunately there isn't a function for editing the poll question.)

    I have no idea which is considered more environmental and thus the creation of the poll to see how others feel. The poll is not meant to be controversial.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They are also available organic-grown; this still requires land of course, but fertilisers and pesticides are not used, and the resulting habitat is good for many birds.
     
  7. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    for me its been a (formerly) living tree until this year, our strata doesnt allow real trees so we have switched to an artificial tree.
     
  8. NiftyNiall

    NiftyNiall Active Member 10 Years

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    I also am not allowed to have live trees in our Co-op. But in the past we used live trees, and planted them in the "Hood". One year I even plunged the cut end of a cut one in the ground, and it grew on.
    Merry Christmas
     
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    My initial reaction to live trees was "what a waste" but now I'm not so sure. As Michael pointed out, there's less environmental impact if they're grown organically. Also, I suspect the land used is uneconomical for use with other types of crops. To further reduce waste a tree could be chipped after the holidays and used as mulch. Maybe they're not so bad after all.
     
  10. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    and dont forget that on tree farms, they are replanted. its planted in the first place with the intent of cutting down, the same as corn or any other crop, just that we havent found a way to eat christmas trees. and chipping to mulch is a great idea, just avoid the flocked trees, you cant chip them. or burn them.
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    At least some (though far from all) christmas trees are also grown in situations where mature trees can't be allowed to grow, such as under power lines.

    A few (though also not many now) also derive from forestry plantation thinnings.
     
  12. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    My vote is for farmed "real" trees. They may be recycled in numerous ways. I have seen them used in the TVA lakes in Tennessee for fish habitat, in Washington along the Snake river for rabbit and other wildlife shelter and chipped for mulch. The resource is renewable and brings incredible joy to millions.
     
  13. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    And at least around here, next to a major metropolitan area, the agro-entertainment business, like a Christmas Tree farm, is one of the few ways the farmers can still make enough money to survive.
     
  14. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The following appeared in a Christmas tree related article (subscription req'd) in today's Vancouver Sun. The speaker is Ian Hartley, an associate professor in the University of Northern B.C.'s ecosystem science and management program.
     
  15. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I hate the decorating of Christmas Trees. If It wasn't for women, the Christmas Tree business would be out of business. I vote no tree. - Millet
     
  16. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Reading through the Wikipedia entry on [WIKI]Christmas tree[/WIKI] suggests that men had much to do with both the ancient day custom and modern day establishment (and proliferation) of the Christmas tree.
     
  17. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Often finances and location can come into the choice. Where we live we are surrounded by trees but for those who live in more urban, but still a few minutes from the forest, areas one can get a ticket from the local authority and go onto crown land to cut a free tree. Much, much cheaper than the artificial. In large cities, such as Toronto though, natural trees can cost quite a few dollars and this makes the artificial ones more financially viable. Our tree is simply dumped outside for nature to take care of and again for those in our local more urban areas a chipper is set up in a central car park and one can take the chips away for the garden. In cities disposing of a tree can be a lot more difficult and expensive.
    Oh by the way my husband really enjoys decorating the tree, armed with a glass of Bristol Cream of course!
    A good New Year to one and all.
    Margaret
     
  18. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member 10 Years

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    Real tree. All living organisms live and die, this helps feed our planet. I cannot see how using petrolium products could benifit our planet.
     
  19. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Is this the first unanimous vote on the forum??
     
  20. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Could be, at least in polls with more than 3 votes!

    For local folks, you can recycle your natural Christmas tree at UBC this week, and help produce mulch for paths in the garden: Christmas Tree Chipper Event
     
  21. Cathie Whitman

    Cathie Whitman Member

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    There is nothing like a live tree!

    It will live on if you choose a container tree, dug tree in B&B, chip it to mulch, or even toss it in your backyard to decompose as a nurse log.

    I should declare my bias, being a Christmas tree grower, retired from city life.

    We start thousands of seedlings, plant them out amongst tall trees, grow them on, and in just 8 short years or so, they are ready to thin out. We do not clear cut and root out stumps with a tractor, but try to simulate nature with mixed planting, no pesticides, and as organic a program as our donkeys will allow and we can afford. We are even roundup free this year!

    Families come for hours at Christmas to spend time together choosing the perfect tree. Classes of school children come to run in open space, touch and smell the green, and hear the sound of birds. Some men come as early as October to walk around in the quiet and reserve the tree that will be best for their families. Some women desperate to have it all done in time, teeter through in high heels! All kinds of peoplel come here to experience something real and personally meaningful.

    No department store can provide that, no matter how perfectly decorated. I should declare my bias, having been a department store window dresser who decorated hundreds of artificial trees each year!
     
  22. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I did not anticipate this but perhaps it's not so surprising considering the poll is being conducted in a forum in which members share a common interest in plants.

    Cathie, it's good to know you allow people to enjoy your farm. Hopefully they will increase their appreciation of nature in doing so. A few questions:
    1. How long does it take for a stump to decompose allowing replanting in the same spot?
    2. Since this reduces crop turnover, is a significantly larger acreage required to make the farm viable?
    3. Do you allow the decomposition to occur naturally?
     
  23. Cathie Whitman

    Cathie Whitman Member

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    It does take a long time for the stumps to decompose; 2 - 3 years I might guess, before we can kick them out, and it makes for very bumpy travelling.

    We have 10 acres, most in production. Our ground is very soft clay, often saturated with water in the winter, and any machinery does way too much damage to the soil structure. I'm not sure whether this is a viable way to farm, it is more a "labour of love" as they say.

    We do not use anything to hasten the decomposition, other than a horse and 2 mini donkeys who wander about occasionally kicking or digging out the odd stump. This is our first year with them, and we are cautious of adding anything to the soil that may harm them.
     
  24. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks, Cathie.
     
  25. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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