Should you purchase a live or cut tree for the holidays, and what are your environmentally friendly options once the Christmas season is over?
Nothing will put you in the holiday spirit faster than visiting your neighborhood Christmas tree lot and buying your Christmas tree. A real Christmas tree adds beauty and a fresh pine smell to your home that lasts until it’s time to remove it. That extra touch of holiday magic is especially welcome during a time when everything seems rushed. To enjoy a real tree for Christmas, your options are to purchase a live tree or a cut tree. Either way, you’ll also need to know what to do with your tree once the holiday season is over.
Before choosing to purchase a live tree, there are several things to consider. While San Diego has many varieties of pine trees, only some varieties of Christmas trees grow here, the most common of which is the Monterey Pine. Other local Christmas trees include Canary Island Pine, Aleppo, Eldarica, Italian Stone Pine, Torrey Pine, and Norfolk Island Pine. Traditional cut Christmas trees like the Noble Fir, Grand Fir and Douglas Fir are Pacific-Northwest trees and don’t tolerate our local environment or generally poor soil and water conditions.
After the holidays many live trees end up in a back yard or donated to a public park. Be aware that living indoors for up to six weeks in a dark, hot, dry environment may lower the tree’s chance of survival once planted outside. If you’re intent on getting a live tree, read our blog post Buying a Living Christmas Tree for tips to help you succeed. For those who don’t have a large yard or the means to transport a boxed tree, buying a living tree can be difficult or inconvenient. For these reasons, you may be better off purchasing a cut tree.
Feel guilty about killing a tree? Don’t. Hundreds of thousands of pine trees are grown specifically for cutting, many more than would grow naturally. Most Christmas trees are very fast growing, reaching cutting height within 2-6 years, and generally there is a surplus when the season is over. It’s estimated that for every Christmas tree harvested each year, three new seedlings are planted. It’s also estimated that the acres and acres of Christmas tree farms in the United States alone produce enough oxygen for 18 million people per day! Check out our Christmas Page to learn more about fresh cut Christmas trees offered here at Evergreen Nursery.
After the holidays, San Diego has many options for Christmas tree recycling. If you live in San Diego and have yard waste recycling, you can have your tree picked up on designated recycling days (be sure to check with your local trash collector to verify their requirements for picking up trees). The trees are transported to a landfill where they are made into mulch, which covers the ground and gradually returns the trees’ nutrients to the soil as fertilizer. Mulching also slows soil erosion and water loss through evaporation, saving scarce water as well as energy resources and dollars that would otherwise be required to pump the water.
There are also drop off locations throughout San Diego where you can take your tree to be recycled. Visit www.WasteFreeSD.org to search for a Christmas tree recycling location near you. And last but not least, you can recycle your tree right here at Evergreen Nursery! Just bring it to one of our three locations in Carmel Valley, Oceanside or Blossom Valley. We will grind it up and use it in our soil mixes.