Christmas Trees; Real or Fake?

What are the Benefits of Real Christmas Trees?

  • Christmas trees are grown as crop in Canada, not taken from forests
  • It takes 6-15 years for Christmas trees to be ready for harvest (the average is 10 years in Ontario).
  • For a Christmas tree farm to be sustainable, no more than 10% can be harvested per year. This means that 90% or more of the farm remains covered in Christmas trees.
  • One acre of Christmas trees will filter 13 tons of air pollution from the air each year and will produce enough oxygen for 18 people.
  • The crops of young Christmas trees provide a unique “early successional habitat” for birds and mammals.
  • Canada grows 3 to 6 million Christmas trees annually on 34,600 hectares of land.
  • Warning: if a real Christmas  tree dried out, it can become a serious fire hazard.

What are the Benefits of Faux Christmas Trees?

  • You don't have to worry about them drying out or losing needles  - you can keep them up all year if you want
  • You can get them pre-lit so no worries about untangling strings of Christmas lights.
  • They are more convenient to put up, however many feel that going to choose your fresh Christmas tree is part of the Christmas experience. 
  • They will last forever - unfortunately even in the landfill.
  • Because of the fire hazard risk for real Christmas trees - many condominiums and apartment buildings will only allow faux Christmas trees.

Christmas Tree Reuse

Christmas trees can be reused in many ways including;

  • They can be piled in natural areas to provide shelter for small mammals and birds over the winter.
  • Municipalities collect Christmas trees and chip them to be used as mulch or compost.
  • Conservation Authorities and other environmental groups use old Christmas trees for stream and fishery rehabilitation. They anchor the trees into to eroded areas/banks of the stream to prevent further erosion and to trap sediment and silt as the water flows through. The silt and sediment build up over time in the branches of the Christmas trees, naturally rebuilding the stream bank and creating fish habitat.

Photo Credit: Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority

How to Care for Your Real Christmas Tree?

  • When you bring your Christmas tree home, make a fresh cut to the base of the stem. A vertical cut made a few inches up into the centre of the stem will increase water uptake.
  • Make sure to keep them well watered at all times. One tree can use four litres of water per day!
  • Keep all heat sources and open flames far away from the trees including fireplaces, candles, stoves, and electronics.
  • Turn of the lights on your tree when leaving the house or going to bed.
  • If your tree dries out briefly, you will have to take off all the decorations and recut the base of the stem make another vertical cut at the base of the tree in the opposite direction of your first cut.

Types of Christmas Trees

White Pine - Soft and flexible branches with blue-green needles and great scent.

Scots Pine - Conical shape with stiff branches and great needle retention, even if they dry out.

Photo Credit: Canadian Christmas Tree Growers

Colorado Blue Spruce - Symmetrical stiff shape and short blue needles with very good needle retention.

White Spruce - Nice triangular shape with green needles with good retention.

Balsam Fir - Dark green needles with good retention and a nice tight conical shape, great fragrance.

Photo Credit: Canadian Christmas Tree Growers

Fraser Fir - A dense and bushy shape with dark green needles and sturdy branches.

Photo Credit: Canadian Christmas Tree Growers

Find Your Nearest Christmas Tree Farm!

Sources:

 Ontario Christmas Tree Farmers

Canada Christmas Tree Growers