December 5, 2005
Natural Christmas trees are good things. It takes 10 years on average for a Christmas tree to grow to maturity. In that time, the tree will take 20 kg or 40 lbs of greenhouse gass from the atmosphere. In Manitoba, the average Christmas tree farm has 4000 trees; that is 8000 kg of carbon that’s taken from the atmosphere every year. Impressive figures and that does not account for the hydrocarbon waste that would be created if you bought a plastic tree.
These figures are based on data from Dr. Andrew Weber of the University of Victoria who has put the benefits of natural trees into cold hard facts. The Canadian Government estimates that the average Canadian produces 4500 kg of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas, per year.
So buying a real Christmas tree is a small step for mankind, but it all ads up.
You are also participating in a century’s old ritual that is good exercise and good fun!
Many Christmas trees are grown right here in Manitoba. Ask where your tree comes from; it reduces the impact on the environment to buy a locally grown tree. It also gives much needed diversified income to farmers. Many times, trees are grown on marginal land that would be subject to erosion if trees were not grown on it.
Every Christmas I am asked “What is the key to keeping a Christmas tree looking good through the holidays?” In one word “fresh”, buy your tree fresh; keep it fresh and cool until you’re ready to bring it inside. Follow a few rules to keep it fresh. When you bring the tree inside cut the bottom inch or 2 cm off the trunk to expose new wood. Put the base of the tree into water and keep it submerged at all times, if it dries out, cut the bottom again. This is hard to do once the tree is fully decked out, so don’t let it run out of water. Keep the tree away from sources of heat, such as baseboard heaters and registers.
In Manitoba, the best source for fresh trees is a reputable local dealer, or Manitoba Christmas Tree Growers Association members, who have u-cut operations across the province. They can be located online at http://www.realchristmastrees.mb.ca .