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WEB EXTRA: SUSTAINABLE LIVING -- A Living Potted Douglas Fir is the Greenest Tree PDF Print E-mail
Written by SHAWN DELL JOYCE, Creators Syndicate   
Thursday, 09 December 2010 01:21

Before you head out into the woods with your ax, in search of the perfect Christmas tree, consider a greener alternative.

The greenest tree is a potted Douglas fir from a local nursery that you can plant outdoors in warm weather. Your little fir tree will clean your indoor air during the holidays and clean carbon out of the atmosphere year round when you transplant it. If you bought a live tree every year, and planted it in spring, you could offset your family's carbon footprint in 20 years and create a green holiday tradition.

The next in line for the "greenest tree award" goes to the locally grown cut tree. Locally grown trees and greens are agricultural products that add to the economic and environmental health of your region. These trees are grown specifically for the holidays on marginal lands that wouldn't support other crops. Buying one of these trees stimulates your local economy and improves the life of a local farm family.

"Go without a twinge of environmental guilt," suggests Deborah Brown a horticulturist from University of Minnesota Extension Service. "During the seven to 10 years that a Christmas tree grows, the tree provides wildlife habitat and helps hold the soil and prevent erosion," says Brown. "Commercial tree operations plant and harvest trees every year. Each year's harvest is quickly renewed, and tree farms never strip large portions of land for a single year's holiday greenery."

If you live in a place where a live tree won't work, consider a second-hand artificial tree. Plastic trees require major amounts of petroleum to manufacture and generate tons of greenhouse gasses in the process. Plus, they are generally not recyclable and wind up in landfills. Using that second-hand tree for several years helps to lessen its environmental impact. It is usually more economical than a cut tree. If you have an artificial tree producer in your community, buy it from them, instead of a big box store.

Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning columnist and founder of the Wallkill River School in Orange County, N.Y. You can contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 December 2010 01:45