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.
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.