Living, Plantable Christmas Trees Reforest, Rather than Deforest

Want to make the Christmas spirit last longer than the holidays? Buy a living tree instead of a dead one. And then plant it instead of throwing it in a dump.

Living, plantable Christmas tree with soil and roots intact.

Every year, in North America and Europe alone, nearly 100 million Christmas trees are chopped down, admired for two weeks, and then trashed.

Every year in the United States more than 300,000 acres of indigenous hardwood forest are clear-cut and converted into pine plantations. These pine tree farms are heavily dependent on synthetic fertilizers and Round-Up, and unlike the bio-diverse, native forests they replaced, they don’t store nearly as much carbon.

Living, pot-grown Christmas trees are reusable and/or plantable. You can either re-pot them into a larger pot for next year, plant them in the backyard or the woods, or send them back to a company that will plant them for you.

Reusable/replantable Christmas tree companies are popping up around the world:

The Original Living Christmas Tree Company in Portland, Oregon, helped start the trend in 1992. They deliver live, potted 7-foot Christmas trees to your door, pick them up after New Years and then plant them to grow old in local parks and watersheds for $100.

If you live in San Diego, the Adopt a Christmas Tree company  will send singing, dancing elves to deliver your tree for around $200. After Christmas, “the elves” replant the trees in San Diego county:

Adopt-a-Stream Foundation in Everett, Washington sells live, wild “trees for salmon” for $40 to $60. All returned trees will be planted next to local streams to “help out next year’s salmon runs.”

While most living tree rental companies are on the west coast, anyone can buy a living, pot-grown tree from their local nursery or even on Amazon:

While living trees tend to cost more than dead ones, you have the benefit of using them year after year or of knowing you’re helping reforest your region of the planet. Also, because they are living, their fresh pine smell never fades away and they don’t dry out and shed pine needles everywhere.

If you decide to plant or reuse your tree for next year, here are some tips from Michigan State University on how to do it successfully.

Credit: Michigan State University





15 responses to “Living, Plantable Christmas Trees Reforest, Rather than Deforest”

  1. Damon Avatar

    I don’t believe your numbers at all. 300,000 acres per year is beyond ludicrous. You are counting on nobody having a grasp on what you’re talking about. Or perhaps it’s your own ignorance that’s allowing to use such ridiculous numbers…

    Please cite your sources.

      1. Antoine Avatar

        “In the last 40 years, roughly 30 million acres”…
        Not EVERY year

    1. JMH Avatar

      The blue text in the article is a clickable link, click on the one where it says the 300,000 acres are cleared each year and here’s what you’ll find :”Sohngen and Brown estimate that an area roughly the size of Los Angeles – about 333,600 acres (135,000 hectares) – is converted to pine plantations each year.” Please do your own research before blasting someone, even if you still don’t believe or agree, there is s level of tact that can still be used on social media. Your karma may improve if you were to apologize for your unnecessarily rude comment.

      1. Cher Avatar

        Second your comment.

  2. Melissa Avatar

    I completely agree with this article – many years ago I was able to buy a potted Christmas tree at a local grocery store in Maryland. I haven’t been able to find them in Wisconsin. The price really needs to be similar – so that everyone can easily choose to get a potted one.

    1. TM Avatar

      Check the non big box stores. They have them in Wisconsin but sell out quickly.

    2. Rachael Avatar

      What part of Maryland? I’m from Maryland, and have not seen a potted Christmas tree but would love to buy one!

  3. Joey Avatar

    I will start by agreeing that using reforestation methods is definitely advantageous to deforestation, I also like the idea of using plantable live trees rather than cutting them.
    But did you read the article you are siting? No where does it even mention Christmas trees as part of the problem. It is referring to Pine plantations. Pines are not generally used for Christmas trees. Pine plantations are for either lumber or paper mills. You have a very good point but you are part of the issue with why a lot of people just do jot pay attention to articles or issues like the one you are talking about.
    Don’t be part of the problem of misinformation. Find good information to support your opinions, or just post it as an opinion, there are people who will blindly agree.

  4. Lisa B Avatar
    Lisa B

    The majority of burlapped trees have damaged and crouded roots. Save yourself the time and trouble of planting these trees unless you have room in your property for a massive 30+foot tree, know how to plant trees correctly and are willing to deal with fallen wood, a shade casting tree, pine or fir cones to bounce on your roof or head, pollen by the bucketful in spring, sap on your car and needles galore that will make your soil acidic, clog your gutter and take a long time to compost. I live in the Evergreen State
    (Washington) and am a Master Gardener, so I do have information and first hand experience.

  5. Crystal Cline Avatar
    Crystal Cline

    Rude. Read and follow citations before you sound ignorant!

  6. Avatar

    When I was serving in the US Navy in Puerto Rico I was home sick for my home in Washington State.
    I bought a fresh tree and low and behold it was grown in Puyallup Washington. I wish it had the rootball so I could plant it.

  7. Beth Avatar

    Pine plantations are for lumber, not Christmas trees. Here is a link with Christmas tree facts from the University of Illinois Extension office. You’ll see that only 350,000 acres total are used to grow Christmas trees and more are replanted than cut.
    Pine plantations are grown as a crop much the same way as well. Though as a sustainable way to provide lumber for an ever growing population.

  8. Donna H Avatar
    Donna H

    I just paid $64 for a small live tree. This is a much better idea…