This week, Joe interviews Rick Dungey, of the National Christmas Tree Assoc to discuss the topic of which is greener, a real tree or an artificial one that can be reused for years. Rick shares some interesting points in this lively discussion. We also address the best ways to recycle a tree after the holidays plus, selection and care for a living tree.
Hi everybody, it’s Joe Lamp’l and welcome to Growing a Greener World. This is a show for people who love to garden and spend time outdoors, and who really care about environmental stewardship.
In honor of the holiday season we’ll take on the discussion of which is greener; an artificial tree that can be reused for years, or a real tree that’s cut down and used only once? To answer that question, we’ll talk to Rick Dungey, Public Relations Manager for the National Christmas Tree Association. Rick also shares some of the ways real trees can be recycled after Christmas.
And while we’re on the subject, how do you select and care for the greenest option of all; a living tree that you plant after the season? I’ll tell you everything you need to know. If you have a question or comment, contact us anytime! Our phone line is always open. The number is 206.337.0375, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org…
Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees – Which is greener?
Well, before you ever really stop to analyze it, it may seem as though an artificial tree is better for the environment. After all, how could cutting down a real tree ever be a greener decision? And besides, fake trees can be reused for years! But when you stop to really assess the alternatives, making the greener choice is even easier than the paper or plastic decision you face at the grocery store. Rick Dungey is Public Relations Manager for the National Christmas Tree Association, and just the guy I needed to talk to clear up some misconceptions.
Rick Dungey Interview (not transcribed)
Home page to The National Christmas Tree Assoc – http://www.christmastree.org/
The 10 Biggest Myths about Christmas Trees – http://www.christmastree.org/myths.cfm
Tree Talk Blog – http://www.realtreetalk.blogspot.com/
Selection and Care of a Live Christmas tree
In recent years, the popularity of live or living Christmas trees has been on the rise. Many people see this as a far better option than choosing an artificial tree and even a better choice than having a farm grown tree cut down, especially when you consider the chemicals used to maintain it, plus the great distance some trees travel to make it into your house. Unfortunately, many of the live trees don’t survive the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Knowing how to choose, plant, and care for a live Christmas tree will make for a happier holiday, and a valuable addition to your landscape.
When purchasing your live tree, be sure to pick a variety that will grow well in your area. Consider the mature height and width of the tree and know where you will plant it in your landscape. The most common tree species used for living Christmas trees include Spruce, Pines and Firs, although many garden centers market any cone-shaped tree as an option for Christmas. Although these may not be considered “traditional” choices, they may be the best option for your area.
Before you bring the tree home, make sure you’re buying healthy stock. Many trees sold for Christmas, could be leftovers from earlier seasons, or might be in poor shape. Check the tree for good color and needle retention, soft flexible branching, and a root system, if you can see it, that isn’t “bound” by its container. The root area should be moist, and not overly dry from lack of water. Also, look the tree over for any signs of damage due to pests or diseases.
Once your tree makes it home, it needs to stay outside, in a protected area, until a few days before Christmas. Water the tree immediately and make sure the soil is kept moist, but not wet. It also needs to be sheltered from high winds and full sun. The objective for this time is to acclimate your tree to warmer temperatures over a period of three to four days. Moving the tree onto a covered porch or garage during the interim is a good transitional place.
Many people choose to spray their live tree with an anti-dessicant or anti-wilt product. These products will help retain valuable moisture in the tree, and reduce needle loss, once the tree is moved indoors. If you choose this option, spray the tree before its moved inside, and while it is acclimating to the warmer temperatures. These products are sold under several names, including Wilt Pruf and Cloud Cover.
Avoid the temptation to bring your tree indoors too early. In fact, the less time indoors the better. One or two days before Christmas is best, but no more than a week! Your home is an inhospitable environment for a living tree. Don’t place your tree near heat vents, radiators, stoves, or anywhere else where heat can dry out your tree, or stimulate new growth. Be sure to keep an eye on the soil and keep it moist. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap, place it in a large tub, and add mulch up to the top of the burlap to help retain moisture.
Move your tree back outdoors as soon as possible after Christmas. However, don’t immediately plant it. The tree needs to readjust to the outdoors in a protected area for several days. Again, avoid direct sun, high winds, and warm areas when storing your tree. Be sure to maintain soil moisture. In a week or 10 days, you can move the tree into the planting hole.
Now it’s a good idea to have already prepared the planting site, especially in areas of the country where the ground may already be frozen. Plant this tree as you would any other…you know the drill; The hole should be at least twice as wide as the root ball, but no deeper and planting your tree slightly higher than the surrounding soil will help with drainage. Then simply backfill with the original soil rather than amending your planting hole with organic matter.
Finally, be sure to water and mulch your tree to retain moisture and be sure to monitor the overall soil moisture. Winter conditions can be really dry, and your plants and trees need water now as well, especially newly planted ones.
Well, that’s it for today. This show was produced by The joe gardener® Media Network.
You can access the show notes from this episode as well as any previous shows on our website. While you’re on the website, check out all the great content in the articles section and be sure to visit my blog, Compost Confidential. That’s where I share my insiders view on the lessons and news of gardening and living green. You can leave a comment right there. I’d love to hear from you.
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If you have a comment, call us anytime. That number is 206.337.0375 or send us an email to email@example.com. And until next time consider these words from Hanna Rion:
The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses
Thanks for listening! This is Joe Lamp’l and I’ll see you back here next week for more Growing a Greener World.