Artificial Trees
the Least Environmentally Friendly Choice

If you, too, are concerned about environmental responsibility, then you should consider the fact that artificial Christmas trees are often fabricated from non-biodegradable plastics and may even contain hazardous chemicals and toxic metals. Artificial trees are made mostly of PVC — a petroleum product and a nonrenewable resource. Furthermore, production of PVC releases a chemical that is highly toxic, dioxin, into the environment.

Some artificial Christmas trees are used for 20 years, but statistics show that most are tossed after six to nine seasons, then the non-biodegradable trees end up in a landfill. Some artificial trees can contain unsafe levels of lead, which is used as a stabilizer in PVC, posing a hazard to the very children who should delight in them! Lead is used as a stabilizer for PVC, and over years of use, the artificial trees may produce dangerous lead dust which can contaminate furniture, flooring, and anything surrounding the tree. Additionally, if the environmental impact is your concern, consider that artificial trees require resources both for production and for shipping — around 90% of them are made in China.

These are a few of the reasons that artificial Christmas trees are not the ideal choice for anyone who is concerned with protecting the environment.

Fresh Cut Trees
a Better Alternative for the Environment

Live, cut trees, on the other hand, are a renewable, recyclable resource. Indiana ranks 11th in the nation in live Christmas tree production, with 200 tree farms producing almost 200,000 harvestable trees per year according to the UDSA Agricultural Census. For every live Christmas tree harvested in the state of Indiana, 1-3 seedlings are planted the next spring. For these reasons, a live, cut Christmas tree is a more environmentally friendly than an artificial tree.

Living Trees
Providing Lasting Benefits to the Environment

A living Christmas tree that can be replanted after the holidays will continue to benefit the environment even after its holiday duties are over. After providing Christmas joy to your home, the tree can live on, cleaning the air, producing oxygen, and preventing soil erosion. Trees, when planted strategically around your home, can help conserve energy by reducing energy demands for cooling your house. And of course, there are the visual benefits to your landscape provided by trees. Evergreen varieties provide year round color and beautiful landscaping can increase property values.

Successfully Choosing and Replanting a Living Christmas Tree

If you are now convinced that you may want to try a living Christmas tree, there are some things to consider to make your endeavor more successful.

Choose a Variety that will Thrive in Your Region

According to the Purdue Extension, in central Indiana, species that are suitable for landscapes and also the easiest to transplant and most suitable for landscapes include white pine and spruce, followed by concolor fir and Douglas fir. Sometimes, Canaan firs are transplanted as well.

Poor candidates for living Christmas trees are Fraser firs, as they are particularly difficult to raise, and Scotch pines, which are prone to insect and disease problems. Scotch pines also tend to develop poor form as they age.

Limit the Time Indoors

The most important factor in the tree’s survival outdoors is the length of time it is left indoors as a Christmas tree. The longer the tree is indoors, the more likely it is to “think spring,” and become less cold-hardy just before it is moved outdoors. Therefore, the less time the tree spends inside, the better its odds of survival when replanted. Seven days is the maximum duration you should keep a live tree indoors, but five is even better. A neat way to do this may be to bring the tree indoors to decorate on Christmas Eve, then plant it outdoors on New Years Day. 

After purchasing the tree, it helps if you can give it a transition perioed — like in a garage — before bringing it all the way in doors to help ease the transition. Keep the rootball moist out and water thoroughly a few hours before bringing it into the house. Once indoors, the tree will do best if placed in a cooler room, away from heat sources like stoves, fireplaces and heat registers.

The container your tree comes in may be decorated with colorful foil or placed in a larger, ornamental pot. Take measures to protect carpeting from water as the rootball will almost certainly need water during the time the tree is displayed indoors. Decorate the tree with miniature lights, which develop less heat than larger lights.

Just as there was a transition period for the tree before being brought indoors, when the five to seven days of display time is over, return the tree to the garage for a couple of days before taking it outdoors. Water the tree thoroughly.

Transplanting Your Christmas Tree

After the tree has had a couple of days to transition and reacclimate to the cold, it’s time to plant it. By Christmas time in Central Indiana, we are well past the first hard freezes of the year. It is actually best if you anticipate purchasing a living Christmas tree to dig the hole before the first freeze. If you did not prepare a hole and the ground is too hard to dig, leave the tree outside, in its container, away from direct sunlight and wind. Keep the tree watered until you are able to plant it.

When you are ready to plant the tree, remove the rootball from the container and place in the previously dug hole, positioning it so the top of the rootball is slightly above ground level. Put some backfill in the hole and be sure to clear the tree of any wire around the rootball or any rope tied around the trunk, which you may have needed for moving and positioning the tree.

Fill in the hole with the rest of the backfill and water heavily to settle the newly replaced backfill. Once it has settled, you may need to add more, so be prepared if necessary. After watering thoroughly, apply a three to five-inch layer of mulch to help keep the soil moist.

Throughout the winter, water the area at least monthly, but if conditions are unusually dry, windy, or unseasonably warm, water more frequently. Water the area at least monthly through the winter, more frequently if conditions have been dry, windy or unseasonably warm. Stake the tree if necessary, but remember to remove the stakes in the summer.

Where to Purchase Living Christmas Trees in Central Indiana

Because this practice is gaining in popularity, there are many places where you might purchase a living Christmas tree in the central Indiana area. Even big box home improvement stores carry some smaller trees that can be placed indoors for a period before planting outside.

Keep in mind that your likelihood for successful transplanting of the tree will increase with the quality of the tree you purchase. For that reason, you may be advised to go to reputable nurseries or Christmas tree farms for your trees. Be sure to tell them what your purpose is so they can advise you in your purchase.

In the Hamilton County, Indiana, area, Allisonville Nursery carries some varieties that may be suitable for this purpose. While successful transplantation is not guaranteed, if the tree does take root, it will provide beauty to your landscape, benefits to the environment, and memories of your Christmas for years to come. Follow the advice here to maximize your odds.

If environmental responsibility is something that is important to you, learn more about Landscape Solution’s commitment to green technology and providing our lawn, landscape, and snow and ice removal services in an environmentally conscious way. Contact us at Landscape Solutions for more information.

Have an Environmentally Conscious Christmas and a Green New Year!

Artificial Trees
the Least Environmentally Friendly Choice

If you, too, are concerned about environmental responsibility, then you should consider the fact that artificial Christmas trees are often fabricated from non-biodegradable plastics and may even contain hazardous chemicals and toxic metals. Artificial trees are made mostly of PVC — a petroleum product and a nonrenewable resource. Furthermore, production of PVC releases a chemical that is highly toxic, dioxin, into the environment.

Some artificial Christmas trees are used for 20 years, but statistics show that most are tossed after six to nine seasons, then the non-biodegradable trees end up in a landfill. Some artificial trees can contain unsafe levels of lead, which is used as a stabilizer in PVC, posing a hazard to the very children who should delight in them! Lead is used as a stabilizer for PVC, and over years of use, the artificial trees may produce dangerous lead dust which can contaminate furniture, flooring, and anything surrounding the tree. Additionally, if the environmental impact is your concern, consider that artificial trees require resources both for production and for shipping — around 90% of them are made in China.

These are a few of the reasons that artificial Christmas trees are not the ideal choice for anyone who is concerned with protecting the environment.

Fresh Cut Trees
a Better Alternative for the Environment

Live, cut trees, on the other hand, are a renewable, recyclable resource. Indiana ranks 11th in the nation in live Christmas tree production, with 200 tree farms producing almost 200,000 harvestable trees per year according to the UDSA Agricultural Census. For every live Christmas tree harvested in the state of Indiana, 1-3 seedlings are planted the next spring. For these reasons, a live, cut Christmas tree is a more environmentally friendly than an artificial tree.

Living Trees
Providing Lasting Benefits to the Environment

A living Christmas tree that can be replanted after the holidays will continue to benefit the environment even after its holiday duties are over. After providing Christmas joy to your home, the tree can live on, cleaning the air, producing oxygen, and preventing soil erosion. Trees, when planted strategically around your home, can help conserve energy by reducing energy demands for cooling your house. And of course, there are the visual benefits to your landscape provided by trees. Evergreen varieties provide year round color and beautiful landscaping can increase property values.

Successfully Choosing and Replanting a Living Christmas Tree

If you are now convinced that you may want to try a living Christmas tree, there are some things to consider to make your endeavor more successful.

Choose a Variety that will Thrive in Your Region

According to the Purdue Extension, in central Indiana, species that are suitable for landscapes and also the easiest to transplant and most suitable for landscapes include white pine and spruce, followed by concolor fir and Douglas fir. Sometimes, Canaan firs are transplanted as well.

Poor candidates for living Christmas trees are Fraser firs, as they are particularly difficult to raise, and Scotch pines, which are prone to insect and disease problems. Scotch pines also tend to develop poor form as they age.

Limit the Time Indoors

The most important factor in the tree’s survival outdoors is the length of time it is left indoors as a Christmas tree. The longer the tree is indoors, the more likely it is to “think spring,” and become less cold-hardy just before it is moved outdoors. Therefore, the less time the tree spends inside, the better its odds of survival when replanted. Seven days is the maximum duration you should keep a live tree indoors, but five is even better. A neat way to do this may be to bring the tree indoors to decorate on Christmas Eve, then plant it outdoors on New Years Day. 

After purchasing the tree, it helps if you can give it a transition perioed — like in a garage — before bringing it all the way in doors to help ease the transition. Keep the rootball moist out and water thoroughly a few hours before bringing it into the house. Once indoors, the tree will do best if placed in a cooler room, away from heat sources like stoves, fireplaces and heat registers.

The container your tree comes in may be decorated with colorful foil or placed in a larger, ornamental pot. Take measures to protect carpeting from water as the rootball will almost certainly need water during the time the tree is displayed indoors. Decorate the tree with miniature lights, which develop less heat than larger lights.

Just as there was a transition period for the tree before being brought indoors, when the five to seven days of display time is over, return the tree to the garage for a couple of days before taking it outdoors. Water the tree thoroughly.

Transplanting Your Christmas Tree

After the tree has had a couple of days to transition and reacclimate to the cold, it’s time to plant it. By Christmas time in Central Indiana, we are well past the first hard freezes of the year. It is actually best if you anticipate purchasing a living Christmas tree to dig the hole before the first freeze. If you did not prepare a hole and the ground is too hard to dig, leave the tree outside, in its container, away from direct sunlight and wind. Keep the tree watered until you are able to plant it.

When you are ready to plant the tree, remove the rootball from the container and place in the previously dug hole, positioning it so the top of the rootball is slightly above ground level. Put some backfill in the hole and be sure to clear the tree of any wire around the rootball or any rope tied around the trunk, which you may have needed for moving and positioning the tree.

Fill in the hole with the rest of the backfill and water heavily to settle the newly replaced backfill. Once it has settled, you may need to add more, so be prepared if necessary. After watering thoroughly, apply a three to five-inch layer of mulch to help keep the soil moist.

Throughout the winter, water the area at least monthly, but if conditions are unusually dry, windy, or unseasonably warm, water more frequently. Water the area at least monthly through the winter, more frequently if conditions have been dry, windy or unseasonably warm. Stake the tree if necessary, but remember to remove the stakes in the summer.

Where to Purchase Living Christmas Trees in Central Indiana

Because this practice is gaining in popularity, there are many places where you might purchase a living Christmas tree in the central Indiana area. Even big box home improvement stores carry some smaller trees that can be placed indoors for a period before planting outside.

Keep in mind that your likelihood for successful transplanting of the tree will increase with the quality of the tree you purchase. For that reason, you may be advised to go to reputable nurseries or Christmas tree farms for your trees. Be sure to tell them what your purpose is so they can advise you in your purchase.

In the Hamilton County, Indiana, area, Allisonville Nursery carries some varieties that may be suitable for this purpose. While successful transplantation is not guaranteed, if the tree does take root, it will provide beauty to your landscape, benefits to the environment, and memories of your Christmas for years to come. Follow the advice here to maximize your odds.

If environmental responsibility is something that is important to you, learn more about Landscape Solution’s commitment to green technology and providing our lawn, landscape, and snow and ice removal services in an environmentally conscious way. Contact us at Landscape Solutions for more information.

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